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Within sight of the bright lights and bustling beaches of Busan, sleepy Tsushima Island has little in common with its neighbor located a mere 50 kilometers north, but the island of about 31,000 people has recently become a hot spot for South Korean tourists.

Duty-free shops abound in the center, advertising Japanese goods in Korean, and groups of Korean tourists, day-trippers in many cases, are everywhere. The island received 356,316 Korean visitors in 2017, up 37.1 percent from the year before, making international tourism a vital source of revenue.

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