Nation's inbound tourism sees robust growth in first half of 2024

2024-07-06 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China experienced a significant surge in inbound trips by foreigners in the first half of the year following the implementation of a series of favorable visa policies, with expectations for continued growth in the second half, the National Immigration Administration said on Friday.

In the first six months of 2024, China received almost 14.64 million inbound trips by foreigners, up 152.7 percent year-on-year. Of these trips, about 8.54 million foreigners visited China visa-free, a year-on-year growth of 190.1 percent.

The 12367 immigration management service platform received a total of 2.72 million global calls, spanning over 100 countries and regions, with an impressive satisfaction rate of 99.1 percent.

Since last year, China has implemented unilateral visa-exemption policies for 15 countries, including France, Germany and Australia. Nationals from these countries holding ordinary passports can enter China visa-free for various purposes such as business, tourism, family visits and transits, with permissible stays of up to 15 days. Furthermore, mutual visa exemption agreements have been established with seven countries, including Singapore and Thailand.

Lin Yongsheng, a spokesman for the NIA, said that these policies have fostered mutual trust between nations, facilitated economic and trade exchanges, and promoted people-to-people interactions.

According to the recently released World Economic Forum's Travel &Tourism Development Index 2024, China ranks eighth globally in promoting tourism development, and stands as the only developing economy in the top 10.

"With the continuous expansion of the 'visa-free circle' and the accelerated implementation of various policies, we anticipate growing enthusiasm among foreigners visiting China in the second half of the year," Lin said.

In February, the NIA expanded the visa-free entry policy for Hai-nan province for passport holders from 59 countries, including Russia, the United Kingdom and France, allowing their residents to enter the province visa-free for a range of purposes with maximum stays of 30 days.

Starting from May 15, China fully implemented the visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups arriving by cruise ships. Additionally, five new measures have been introduced to facilitate the entry of foreigners into China, including streamlining the conditions for applying for port visas, enabling foreigners to transit without inspection at major airports like Beijing Capital International Airport within 24 hours, simplifying visa application materials and streamlining documentation for foreign travelers.

Moreover, the NIA has approved the establishment of 13 new visa and document acceptance points in counties in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces and other regions, expanding the coverage of port visa services to 100 ports in 73 cities nationwide.

Yang Jinsong, head of the China Tourism Academy's Institute of International Studies, said that the introduction of favorable inbound policies will attract more tourists to China, laying a robust market foundation for domestic tourism development.

This will not only stimulate the domestic tourism market, but also enhance service quality, more effectively develop niche tourism markets, and improve related facilities and public services, Yang said.

"The increasingly open stance of China is instilling greater confidence in both domestic and international tourists," he added.

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