Friendly travel policies push inbound tourism surge

Updated: Apr 11, 2024 By YANG FEIYUE CHINA DAILY Print
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Tourists disembark from the Zuiderdam cruise ship after it arrives at Dalian port in Liaoning province on March 10. XINHUA

Numbers on the rise

As China's visa-free "circle of friends" has expanded, foreign tourists have shown increasing willingness to visit the country.

On March 10, more than 2,000 travelers from 47 countries and regions arrived in Dalian, Liaoning province, onboard the Zuiderdam cruise ship, operated by the Holland America Line, and took in the city's numerous attractions, ranging from its beautiful parks and beaches to its theaters and museums.

In January and February, nearly 2.95 million entries and exits of foreign nationals were recorded by the National Immigration Administration, according to statistics cited by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

During the Spring Festival holiday, the effects of China's visa-free policy became apparent, with a significant increase in visitors from countries newly added to the visa-free list, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia and Singapore.

The total volume of inbound tours booked on some online travel agency platforms was double that for the same period in 2019, the tourism ministry said.

Since the beginning of this year, inbound tourism orders have increased more than threefold compared with the same period last year, and 50 percent with 2019, said Qin Jing, vice-president of major online travel agency Trip.com Group based in Shanghai.

Inbound hotel bookings have increased more than threefold year-on-year, with a growth rate of over 70 percent compared with 2019. Inbound flight bookings have also seen a more than threefold increase year-on-year, representing a growth rate of over 60 percent compared with 2019, Qin said.

Yu Tong, product manager with CYTS Tours, said recently she has been receiving inbound travel groups in Beijing almost every day. The Palace Museum, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and the Ming Tombs Reservoir are the most popular destinations for inbound tourists, she said.

"Some of them have also opted for immersive cultural tours, like hiking the Jinshanling and Simatai sections of the Great Wall or exploring deep into hutongs," Yu said.

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