Friendly travel policies push inbound tourism surge

Visitors from around the world welcomed, visa-free entry helps boost sector

By YANG FEIYUE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-11 07:15
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Edouard Rebilly from Belgium tries decorative art at a museum in Beijing in April. YANG FEIYUE/CHINA DAILY

Maximilian Klaus Puechler from Germany crammed in as much sightseeing as he could during his short trip to Beijing in late March.

In one day, Puechler, in his 20s, visited the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall and the royal gardens at the Summer Palace as well as viewed the ancient architecture at the Temple of Heaven.

He was especially impressed by a culturally immersive experience at the temple, where he learned about traditional Chinese architectural oil painting, and tried techniques such as the gilding and decorative application of gold powder to the surface of a painting.

At the end of the tour, he was given a dragon-shaped hat by a staff member at the temple as a gift.

"As a tourist, I felt everyone's hospitality. People would come up to me and strike up a conversation, and that's really nice," Puechler said.

Talina Hotz from Switzerland took a special shine to the exhibitions at the Temple of Heaven. She said they helped her gain a better appreciation of the temple's history and structure as well as cultural aspects, such as the Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest, a magnificent triple-gabled circular building.

"I'm really interested in Chinese cultural heritage, and I really enjoyed it," she said. Hotz said she was also impressed that so many people on her tour had enjoyed the experience.

The two Europeans are among a growing number of international travelers who have benefited from China's recent visa-free entry policy.

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