Foreign visitors flock to document incredible experiences as cross-border tourism surges

2024-06-21 09:05:25Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Foreign visits to China are heating up, with a notable surge in cross-border tourism in recent months. "China travel" is also becoming a buzzword on various social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and others, as numerous bloggers document travel experiences ranging from landmark buildings in big cities to unique tours of county life across China.

Much of the content made by these foreign bloggers has garnered lots of attention online. Many netizens said they like this content because it shows them the "real China" and a beauty that stands in contrast to the distorted images portrayed by some Western media outlets.

In an interview after visiting Southwest China's Yunnan Province, Canadian couple Flora and Note told the Global Times, "We immersed ourselves in ancient towns, learned about ethnic minorities and their food culture, and were marveled by the incredible nature."

China has made great efforts to promote international tourism, including the resumption of more international flights and the implementation of visa-free policies for many countries. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese government's introduction of facilitation measures, such as streamlined visa processing and mobile payment options, has further enhanced the travel experience for foreigners visiting China.

"Seeing is believing. Welcome to China!" China's Vice Foreign Minister Hua Chunying wrote on X on June 12 to welcome foreign visitors.

Besides visiting landmark sites, many foreigners also enjoy celebrating traditional Chinese festivals. For example, during the Dragon Boat Festival, which fell on June 10 this year, many foreign visitors personally experienced making zongzi, watching dragon boat races, and learning about traditional festivals and historical customs. These activities have also become a window for foreign tourists to deepen their understanding of Chinese culture.

Amid this China travel wave, in addition to tourists, travel agents from North America, Europe, and other places have also been making their way to the country. They are focusing on the Chinese tourism market, exploring innovative projects and boutique routes, and engaging in international tourism cooperation, according to media reports. 

With the increasing willingness of foreign tourists to travel to China, small guided tours in visitors' native language have also become popular. However, some tourism industry staff say that there is a shortage of certified talents who are proficient in some less common languages. They called for setting up relevant majors in vocational colleagues, noting that more talent support should be provided for the development of inbound tourism, according to a report from China Tourism News.  

According to data released by the National Immigration Administration, the number of foreigners visiting China more than tripled in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. A total of 466,000 foreign visas were issued, representing a significant increase of 118.8 percent year-on-year. Moreover, 1.988 million foreigners entered China visa-free, marking a substantial increase of 266.1 percent year-on-year. 

In the recently released Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024 by the World Economic Forum, China ranked eighth globally in promoting tourism development. With the continuous increase of inbound tourist demand and the country's ongoing efforts to facilitate international tourism, China's tourism industry is expected to further accelerate its recovery in the coming months.

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