China Announces Visa-Free Travel to 5 EU Countries
China is set to open its doors to citizens from five European nations, granting them visa-free access starting December 1, 2023, until November 30, 2024.
Currently, most travellers need a visa to enter China.
During this one-year program, nationals from the specified countries will enjoy visa-free entry into China for stays of up to 15 days for various purposes such as business, tourism, family visits, and transit.
The same will also be granted to Malaysia.
“The goal is to facilitate robust exchanges between Chinese and foreign nationals and to promote a higher level of engagement with the global community,”Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry
This is a strategic move in reigniting international travel after nearly three years of strict pandemic measures. Although the restrictions were eased earlier this year, the recovery of international travel to pre-pandemic levels has been slow.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, China temporarily suspended visa-free entry for citizens of Brunei, Japan, and Singapore. While it reinstated visa-free entry for Brunei and Singapore in July, the same privilege was not extended to Japan.
In the first half of 2023, China observed 8.4 million foreign entries and exits, a notable contrast from the 977 million recorded before the pandemic struck.
Post-Pandemic Travel to China
The year has witnessed a surge in interest among Europeans in visiting China as a tourist destination.
Statistics from Trip.com, an online travel agency, highlight a remarkable 663 percent surge in overall bookings from Europe to China compared to 2022, and nearly a 29 percent increase from 2019.
Beyond the newly introduced visa-free initiatives, China is actively promoting inbound tourism by showcasing its rich cultural and historical heritage. China is also investing in technological advancements, travel guides, and e-payment systems to enhance its tourism infrastructure.
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