Make way for the newest arrival on the international travel scene: the tourist from mainland China.

The heir apparent to the "ugly Americans" bumbling through Europe in the '50s and '60s and the camera-clicking, free-spending Japanese tour groups of the '70s are travelers from the Middle Kingdom who are seen - even by their own government - as a sharp-elbowed, chain-smoking, hard-bargaining lot. They may take some getting used to.

Fueled by a growing economy at home, Chinese travelers are expected to take 34.1 million trips abroad this year, up more than six-fold from a decade earlier, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. They spent $19.1 billion in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, an increase of 26% from 2003. The agency projects that Chinese will take 100 million trips abroad annually by 2020.

Chinese tourists mostly stick to Asian destinations such as Bangkok and Hong Kong, which technically is part of China but requires a visa for mainland travelers.

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