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S. Korea expected to attract 8 mln foreign tourists this year

All Headlines 09:54 December 22, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- The number of foreign tourists that visited South Korea is expected to approach 8 million this year, the country's state-run tourism board said Tuesday.

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) estimates that 7.81 million foreign tourists will have visited the country by the end of the year, marking a 13.4 percent increase from last year. The total figure also exceeds the KTO's target of 7.5 million visitors.

Japanese and Chinese tourists made up 56 percent of the total. The number of Japanese tourists is expected to jump around 30 percent from a year ago to a record 3.07 million, while the number of Chinese visitors is likely to top 1.3 million.

The KTO says it plans to try and draw in more Chinese tourists next year to increase their proportion to overall visitors from 17 to 20 percent. The agency is also targeting a total of 8.3 million visitors to the country next year as part of the government's "Visit Korea Year 2010-2012," a three-year program aimed at enhancing Korea's tourism industry.

ecuedy@yna.co.kr
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