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The influx of Chinese tourists visiting Korea began with a recent change in visa restrictions, but has been further bolstered by the surge in cancellations to Japan for an upcoming national holiday.

South Korea expects a record 100,000 Chinese tourists during a weeklong holiday starting Oct. 1 as vacationers switch plans because of a consumer boycott of Japanese goods and travel. The protests have been sparked by Japan’s move to nationalize disputed islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.

“Chinese nationals have great feelings of patriotism because of the Diaoyu incident,” said Lin Jiashui, a deputy director at Xiamen C&D ITS Co., the largest travel agency in China’s Fujian province. “Their first reaction is — I don’t want to step on Japanese soil.”

Chinese visitor numbers to South Korea during next week’s vacation may jump 36 percent from last year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization. Chinese tourists spent an average of $1,949 per person during trips to the country last year, based on Ministry of Finance data. That compares with $1,408 for U.S. visitors and $1,075 for Japanese holidaymakers.

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Tags: china, japan, korea, tourism

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