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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A group of foreign tourists takes in the Palace Museum in Beijing, on Sunday. CHINA DAILY

Opening doors

Since March 14, China has granted visafree entry on a trial basis to visitors from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

According to the Foreign Ministry, from March 14 to Nov 30, passport holders from the six countries can enter China without a visa for up to 15 days for business, tourism, family visit, and transit purposes.

In November, visa-free policies were implemented for travelers holding passports from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.

More than 1,200 tourists, mostly from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, were on board the MS Artania cruise ship, when it docked in Shanghai from March 19 to March 21.

They qualified for unrestricted entry to the country under the visa-free policy, said Hu Jiying from the Beijing-based CYTS Tours, which was in charge of arranging the tour.

The previous 15-day visa-free policy for cruise ship passengers entering Shanghai port would have restricted their stay to the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai area, Hu said.

The new visa-free policy allows them to book tours to other destinations in the country such as Beijing. "Despite the tight schedule, passengers enthusiastically signed up for a trip to Beijing," Hu said.

In addition to the 350 guests who took tours in Beijing, other passengers also booked excursions in Shanghai and surrounding areas, she added.

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