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S. Korea's overseas arrivals, departures hit record high in 2015

All News 17:21 January 22, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- The number of locals and foreigners going in and out of South Korea recorded the largest figure last year, a 7.7 percent increase from the previous year, the Ministry of Justice said Friday.

The tally came to some 66.37 million, with the number of locals reaching 39.11 million and that of foreigners coming in at 27.26 million.

But the number of foreigners visiting South Korea stood at 13.35 million, a 6.3 percent decrease from the previous year, the ministry said.

The decline, the first in 12 years since 2003, is attributable to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that swept the country from June to September, according to the ministry.

Some 6.15 million Chinese visited South Korea last year, accounting for 46.1 percent of all foreign visitors, followed by 1.86 million Japanese, 860,000 Americans and 550,000 Taiwanese.

More than 70 percent of foreign visitors came to Korea for tourism. Other purposes cited were simple visits and employment.

Last year, the number of local Koreans who went out of the country stood at 19.58 million, a whopping 19.3 percent increase over the previous year.

The ministry expects the number of Koreans going out for overseas trips this year will be more than 20 million.

The ministry also said a total of 1.89 million foreigners resided in the country last year, accounting for 3.7 percent of the nation's total population.

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