China border crossings up over Lunar New Year holiday - Xinhua

SHANGHAI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Border crossings into and out of China during the Lunar New Year holiday rose 11 percent to 12.53 million this year from the same 2018 period, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday as the week-long holiday drew to a close.

More than 6.2 million arrivals were recorded, an increase of 9.5 percent, while there were over 6.3 million exits, up 12.5 percent, it said, citing data from the State Immigration Administration.

Chinese residents crossing the border for personal reasons made a combined 7.22 million entries and exits, an increase of nearly 16 percent over the previous year, Xinhua said.

The growth in border crossings during the country's biggest holiday underscores the rise of Chinese tourism and comes in spite of a slowing economy.

Top overseas destinations for Chinese residents this Lunar New Year were Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Xinhua reported.

In 2017, Chinese people made 143 million international tourist trips and were the world's biggest spenders on international tourism, the United Nations World Tourism Organization said.

The Lunar New Year holiday is one of China's longest breaks and over 400 million people - more than a quarter of the population - had been expected to travel domestically for family reunions, according to Chinese travel agency Ctrip. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Neil Fullick)