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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Tourists take photos of Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. ZHANG TIANZHU/FOR CHINA DAILY

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Edouard Rebilly from Belgium could not take advantage of the visa-free policy before he came to China in late March.

"I had to go to a center in London, and it was quite a long wait, which was a bit annoying," Rebilly said.

The Belgian, in his 20s, came to China to visit friends he met in 2019 during a six-month college exchange program in Hong Kong. On the latest trip he took tours to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and Beijing and Shanghai over about two weeks.

Rebilly said he was drawn to the distinctive culture and food in those cities. "I think every city is very different, and it's very safe to travel here," he said.

As the beneficial travel policies have been unrolled, Rebilly says he's likely to visit again soon. "I will probably check out Zhangjiajie where they filmed the Avatar movie," he said, referring to the spectacular national forest in Hunan province.

Dou Junjie, who for two decades has arranged cycling tours to Beijing's historical and cultural areas such as the Central Axis and hutongs, believes the effects of the positive measures will be fully seen in autumn.

"The guests from abroad we have received have usually made their travel plans at least six to ten months in advance," said Dou, who has received a stream of orders for cycling tours since February.

"If past experience is any reference, September to early November is the peak season. That means if we can align the influence of the policies with the traditional cycle we can expect a very promising scenario," Dou said.

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