Impacts of Tourism

China Enforces Visa-Free Entry for Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships

Main image to the post China Enforces Visa-Free Entry for Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships

China has implemented a new policy enabling visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving aboard cruise ships at all cruise ports along the country's coast. The National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced that tourist groups comprising two foreigners or more, arranged or received by Chinese travel agencies, can now enter China without a visa, with 13 Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Sanya, designated as eligible cruise ports. These tourists are permitted to remain in China for a maximum of 15 days and can explore a variety of coastal regions and cities during their visit.

The NIA also revealed that seven cruise ports, such as Dalian, Lianyungang, Wenzhou, and Shenzhen, have been identified as visa-free transit ports for citizens from 54 countries. This decision aims to streamline the transit and departure processes for foreign travelers utilizing cruise ships under China's visa-free transit policy. To enhance the efficiency of entry and exit procedures for cruise passengers, crew members, and maintenance services, the NIA has introduced a series of measures, as mentioned by Mao Xu, a senior NIA official. The 15-day visa-free policy for international cruise tour groups was initiated following successful trials conducted over several years, starting in Shanghai in 2016.

China's coastal regions are experiencing a surge in inbound cruise tourism, with a rise in the number of tourists visiting aboard cruise ships from various nations and regions. Zhu Jialiang, an associate professor at Xiamen University, emphasized that the expanded visa policy will enrich the tourism experience for foreign visitors, thus increasing China's attractiveness to international tourists. The development of China's cruise economy in its coastal areas is expected to receive a significant boost from this policy, as highlighted by official data showing Shanghai's annual average growth rate in cruise tourist arrivals since the pilot program's inception. Li Liangyi, president of China Express Travel Pte. Ltd., remarked on the increasing number of Singaporeans traveling to China after the visa exemption policy for Singaporean passport holders was resumed in July 2023.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09