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China's neighbors gear up for record Lunar New Year tourism

Thais and others ready to cash in on travelers from Vietnam as well

Thailand has been recruiting Chinese-speaking volunteers in anticipation of a huge influx of tourists during the Lunar New Year holiday. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

BANGKOK/HANOI/SINGAPORE -- Countries throughout Southeast Asia and Japan are hoping for a banner Lunar New Year holiday in terms of tourism and sales, with Chinese expected to visit in record numbers on top of buzzing intraregional travel.

Some 6.5 million Chinese are predicted to go abroad during the extended holidays that began Thursday. With frosty relations between Beijing and other destinations like South Korea and Taiwan, many popular spots in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, are preparing for waves of tourists.

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