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Chinese tourists return to South Korea as relations warm

Favorites Thailand and Vietnam see fewer faces from China in first half of 2019

A tourist wearing a traditional Korean costume poses for photographs at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on February 11.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Chinese travelers are choosing different destinations this year, with South Korea welcoming nearly 30% more from a year ago while once popular Southeast Asian countries experience significant drops, according to official government data.

Last year, Chinese made 149 million trips overseas, up 15% from 2017. Among the most popular destinations were Thailand with 10 million visitors, followed by Japan with 8.3 million, Vietnam with 4.9 million and South Korea with 4.7 million.

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