January 25, 2016 12:30
The combined number of inbound and outbound travelers here hit a record in 2015, but fewer tourists came while Koreans traveled more.
The total hit 66.37 million, up 7.7 percent on-year, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The figure crossed the 40 million mark in 2010 and the 60 million mark in 2014.
But this was due to a massive 19.3 percent increase in Koreans going overseas to 19.58 million, the highest growth rate in the last five years. About 1.53 million Koreans took a trip abroad for the first time in their life last year.
But only 13.36 million foreigners visited Korea last year, down 6.3 percent chiefly due to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
"The number of foreign visitors dropped by about 30 percent on-year between June and September when MERS broke out," a ministry official said.
The number of foreign residents also hit a record 1.9 million late last year. The majority were Chinese at 50.3 percent or 955,871, followed by 138,660 Americans and 136,758 Vietnamese.
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