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Expanded visa-free policy shows positive results in boosting visits

PEOPLE'S DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-24 07:29

Inbound passengers go through entry procedures at Haikou Meilan International Airport in Hainan province on March 1. [Photo by LUO YUNFEI / CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

The number of foreigners coming to China in the first quarter of this year increased by more than three times compared with the same period in 2023, data recently released by the National Immigration Administration show.

In the past few months, China has introduced a number of visa optimization measures, including reducing the content of visa application forms, reducing visa fees, simplifying the examination and approval procedures, and piloting visa-free policies for some countries, providing more convenience for foreigners' travel, work, study and living in China.

Widely welcomed by the international community, these measures demonstrate China's resolve to promote high-level opening-up and strengthen international exchanges and cooperation.

Following the resumption of a 15-day visa-free entry policy for Singaporeans and Bruneians holding ordinary passports for business, tourism, visiting friends and relatives and transit in China on July 26, China again launched a pilot unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia on Dec 1, and from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg on March 14.

Up to now, a total of 989,000 travels have been made to China visa-free by people from the 15 countries, accounting for more than 60 percent of the total visits made by foreigners to China, showing an overall upward trend.

The China-Thailand visa exemption agreement came into effect on March 1. According to Ctrip data, on the day the China-Thailand visa agreement came into effect, Thai travel orders to China surged three times year-on-year, an increase of more than 160 percent compared with the day in 2019. Keyword searches on Chinese cities also increased significantly. That an increasing number of Thai people are choosing China as a travel destination is helping further promote exchanges between the two countries. A travel agency in Sichuan province said it has received more than 600 tourists from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand since the beginning of this year, more than double the number during the same period last year.

China's visa-free policy has also been widely welcomed by overseas people looking to expand their business and seek cooperation opportunities in the Chinese market. It is their belief that a series of measures taken by China to facilitate foreigners' visit, including resolving their mobile payment problem, have made their stay in China safer, more comfortable and more convenient.

The visa-free policy has not only promoted rising enthusiasm for overseas people to travel to China, but also enabled people in more countries to have a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of China, thus further promoting friendship and people-to-people exchanges between China and the rest of the world.


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