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Cruise ships injecting vigor in economy, creating opportunities

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 07:33

An aerial drone photo taken on May 15, 2024 shows the cruise ship Dream berthing at Tianjin International Cruise Home Port in North China's Tianjin municipality.[Photo/Xinhua]

China implemented a visa-free entry policy for foreign tourist groups arriving on cruise ships starting Wednesday. As a result, foreign tourist groups arriving in China on cruise ships organized by domestic travel agencies can enter China without the need for a visa at designated cruise ports in 13 cities including Tianjin, Dalian, Shanghai and Qingdao, and stay in the country for up to 15 days.

Against the backdrop of the weak global economic recovery, rising instability and uncertainty, such a move sends a positive signal of China's greater determination to pursue openness, cooperation and win-win results. Apart from promoting the development of China's cruise economy and industry, the move will also promote people-to-people exchanges and provide new opportunities for world development.

In the past decade, the international cruise travel market has maintained an average annual growth rate of 6 to 8 percent. Since the pilot implementation of the visa-free entry policy for cruise tour groups in 2016, Shanghai has seen an average annual growth of 10 percent in the number of foreign cruise passengers. The comprehensive implementation of the visa-free entry policy for foreign cruise tour groups in more Chinese coastal cities will facilitate the visit of more foreign tourists to China, and boost the development of the cruise economy in China's coastal regions.

Despite the undercurrent of "anti-globalization", China's efforts to promote people-to-people exchanges will help build trust and deepen understanding between countries, and expand their cooperation in trade, science and technology, culture and other fields.

Since last year, China has been improving its visa policy, simplifying the approval procedures for studying in China and piloting visa-free policies for some countries. In March this year, the State Council introduced specific measures to better meet the diversified payment service needs of foreign nationals in China. In the first quarter of this year, the number of foreigners coming to China increased by more than three times compared with the same period in 2023. During the May Day holiday, foreigners made 779,000 trips to and from China, up 98.7 percent from the same period last year.

The introduction of one opening-up policy after another in the past year has demonstrated China's sincerity in embracing the world and increased the confidence of foreign businesses in China. Not long ago, a global foreign direct investment confidence index released by Kearney raised China's ranking from 7th last year to 3rd.

By opening wider to the outside world, China has not only developed itself, but also benefited the whole world. China has contributed more than 30 percent to world economic growth for many years in a row and an open and confident China will write more wonderful stories for itself and the rest of the world.

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