China the top destination for Asia/Pac biz travelers September 25, 2006 Share 1 -- China increasingly seems destined to live up to the ancient meaning of its name, which comprises two ideographs that mean "center" and "country" and combined mean "middle kingdom" or "central country." China's strengthening status as the economic center of Asia was affirmed by MasterCard Worldwide's MasterIndex of Travel survey on business and personal travel trends of the urban middle class in 13 Asia/Pacific markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey is taken every six months and investigates travel patterns in the previous 12 months.China came in as the top destination for 28% of the business travelers surveyed, the same percentage as in the last two surveys. Singapore was the second-most preferred business destination at 19%, a slight drop from 20% in the survey six months ago. Hong Kong came in third at 15%, a slight drop from a 16% score in the previous survey. Japan was fourth at 14%, compared with 12% in the previous survey.According to Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic adviser to MasterCard Worldwide in the Asia/Pacific region, "China's importance as a business travel destination is a simple reflection of the role it plays in being a key hub in an increasingly efficient Pan-Asia supply chain as well as its rapidly expanding domestic market." The study of business travel over the last 12 months found that 88% of respondents frequently visit more destinations in Asia/Pacific than in other regions vs. 12% who travel to Europe most frequently and 11% who travel to North America most frequently.According to the survey, 35% of Thai travelers travel for business, the most of any nation surveyed; Hong Kong was second at 34% and Singapore third at 33%. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they had traveled internationally in the previous 12 months: 72% of Thais; 64% of Hong Kongers and 60% of Singaporeans.Eighty-three percent of leisure travelers from the Asia/Pacific region said their most visited destination in the previous year had been within the Asia/Pacific region. Thirty-six percent said it was within Europe, and 18% said it was in North America.