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Foreign tourists visiting South Korea have surpassed 7 million since the turn of this year, hitting an all-time high.

The figure represents a 14 percent rise from 6.13 million a year ago, the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) said. It is the first time that the number of foreign visitors has topped the 7 million mark.

The KTO attributed the pickup in the number of foreign tourists to more visitors from Japan and China and its aggressive overseas marketing strategy.

An estimated 3.5 million foreign tourists traveled to South Korea in 1994 and more than 6 million visited the country in 2005, according to Yonhap News Agency.

About 2.75 million Japanese have visited South Korea so far this year, accounting for 39.4 percent of the total, followed by Chinese tourists with 17.3 percent and American tourists with 7.9 percent.

The tourism agency said up to 7.8 million tourists will visit South Korea by the end of this year, surpassing its target of 7.5 million set at the beginning of the year.

South Korea is seeking to attract about 10 million foreign tourists annually by 2012.


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