China is set to introduce visa-free travel for citizens from five European countries and Malaysia. Starting December 1, people from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can enjoy up to 15 days of visa-free travel in China. This one-year trial aims to boost business and tourism.
China Boosts Visa-Free Travel to Revitalize Tourism and Economy
The Chinese Foreign Ministry shared this news, highlighting their goal to enhance international exchanges and openness. The visa-free travel initiative is part of China's efforts to revive its tourism sector, which has suffered due to the pandemic.
China's strict COVID-19 measures had previously deterred many international visitors. Although these restrictions were eased earlier this year, the number of foreign travelers is still below pre-pandemic levels. In the first half of the year, China saw 8.4 million foreign entries and exits, a sharp drop from the 977 million recorded in 2019.
Before the pandemic, euronews.travel reported that China had visa-free arrangements with Brunei, Japan, and Singapore, but these were suspended during COVID-19. The visa-free travel for Brunei and Singapore resumed in July, but Japan is still waiting.
China's decision to allow visa-free travel is also part of a broader strategy to attract foreign investment and rejuvenate the economy. Business leaders, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Apple's Tim Cook, have visited for trade fairs and meetings. However, foreign tourists are still less common compared to before the pandemic.
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To further boost tourism from Europe, China has seen a significant increase in travel bookings. The news also revealed that bookings from Europe to China have risen by 663% compared to 2022 and are 29% higher than in 2019. The UK and Germany are among the top sources of tourists, with Shenzhen and Shanghai being popular destinations.
In addition to visa-free travel, China is enhancing its appeal to tourists by promoting cultural sites and improving tourism infrastructure with technology, travel guides, and e-payment systems. This move is expected to make travel easier and more inviting for European visitors.
Partners with Trip.com for Tourism
China is making travel easier with recent visa-free travel expansions. Last week, it extended its visa-free transit policy to include 54 countries, with Norway being the newest addition. This policy lets foreign travelers stay in certain Chinese cities for up to six days without a visa. They must be transiting through China to a third country.
To boost inbound tourism, the China International Culture Association signed a three-year agreement with Trip.com Group. This partnership is part of the Nihao! China campaign, aiming to enhance cultural exchanges.
Skift mentioned that Trip.com Group will work with Chinese cultural centers and tourism boards. They plan to promote the varied and rich tourism experiences in China. As visa-free travel becomes more accessible, these efforts are set to make China a top choice for travelers worldwide.
Trip.com Group plans major investments over the next three years. They will focus on technology, marketing, and product integration. This aims to fast-track the growth of tourism in China.
These initiatives are set to simplify travel and attract more visitors. With visa-free travel options expanding, China is poised to become a more accessible and appealing destination for global tourists.
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