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Record Number of People Traveling
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The number of outbound travelers from the Chinese mainland reached a record 34.52 million last year, with Hong Kong, Macao and Japan as the three most popular destinations, a report said yesterday.


The figure marks an 11 percent increase on the previous year.


About 9.84 million travelers, or 29 percent of the total, were tourists, according to the report published on the website of the Ministry of Public Security.


Businessmen and people visiting relatives and friends also accounted for a large part of the total.


The top 10 destinations included Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia.


The report also showed that China welcomed some 22.21 million travelers from foreign countries last year, up 9.65 percent from the previous year.


Among those, more than 11.33 million were tourists, accounting for 51 percent of the total.


The top 10 source countries for travelers to the mainland were the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Mongolia, Thailand, Britain and Australia.


The Luohu Checkpoint in Shenzhen and the Gongbei Checkpoint in Zhuhai, both in South China's Guangdong Province and adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao, saw larger numbers of travelers compared with other ports, the report says.


The ministry said it had set up 130 self-service passenger-clearance channels at the two checkpoints to facilitate inbound travel. It takes only 10 seconds for a traveler to pass through the channels machine-readable documents.


The report also showed that police last year detained 5,937 people who attempted to enter or leave the country illegally, down 13 percent year-on-year.


(China Daily January 17, 2007)


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