May 20, 2013 10:32
More Chinese tourists have visited Korea so far this year than vice-versa for the first time, according to the Immigration Office at Incheon International Airport.
Some 598,460 Chinese have had their passports stamped at the nation's main air gateway from January to April, up 37 percent from the same period last year, it said Thursday.
In comparison, 587,245 Koreans boarded flights to China for travel during the first four month of the year.
The number of Chinese tourists also eclipses that of visiting Japanese, which dropped 25 percent on-year to 478,201.
Chinese visitors are increasing due to the growing popularity of Korean culture in China, while Japanese people are reluctant to come to Korea amid the weakening yen and souring relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
Meanwhile, 3.32 million Koreans had set off overseas for travel as of the end of April, up 9.2 percent from a year earlier. China was the top destination, followed by Japan (426,334 people), the Philippines (326,492), Thailand (314,140) and the U.S. (306,727).
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