Inbound tourism drive sparks optimistic outlook(4)

2024-06-07 08:03:24China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Favorable policies

China has rolled out a slew of favorable inbound travel policies in recent months.

In mid-May, it announced a policy allowing visa-free entry of foreign tour groups aboard cruise ships via all the country's cruise ship ports.

Foreign tour groups comprising two or more individuals and organized or received by domestic travel agencies can also enter the country visa-free through cruise ship ports in 13 cities and stay for up to 15 days, according to the National Immigration Administration.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and other departments are also streamlining the inbound tourism process. Measures include optimizing visa and customs policies, improving tourism services, and enhancing the management of and shopping environment at cultural and tourism sites, according to the ministry.

In April, the ministry, the People's Bank of China, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the National Cultural Heritage Administration jointly issued a notice requiring all 5A-and 4A-rated tourist destinations, national and provincial tourist resorts, national tourist cultural streets, and three to five-star hotels to accept domestic and international bank cards.

Major cultural and tourism attractions should retain ticket booths and ticketing staff to accommodate visitors who prefer cash payment options, the notice said. It also called for efforts to actively set up foreign currency exchange outlets in venues with a large number of foreign tourists, and enhance mobile payment services and relevant product features.

Last November, visa-free policies were implemented for passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia.

In March, China announced it would grant visa-free 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 these six countries would be able to enter China without a visa for up to 15 days for business, tourism, family visits and transit purposes.

Right after the May Day holiday, the government decided to extend the visa-free policy for short-term visits for all 12 countries mentioned until the end of 2025.

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