22 May 2009

Chinese visa restrictions need relaxing to promote tourism

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Calls to relax Chinese visa restrictions have been voiced by the tourism industry in a bid to get easier travel for inbound and outbound tourism, reports the China Daily.

Zhang Rui, a marketing manager with of the Beijing Caissa International Travel Service Co Ltd, has responded to a report released by the World Economic Forum that ranked the Chinese mainland at 128th for its Chinese visa policy towards travellers.

Because of their strict conditions, Chinese are faced with having to secure visas in most countries when travelling abroad.  If the government were to relax the Chinese visa requirements for tourists, then other governments would be likely to reciprocate the visa conditions and give Chinese tourists visa-free travel.

For example, groups of Chinese tourists do not need a Russian visa to travel the country, and the Maldives and Indonesia allow individual Chinese tourists to purchase a visa at the port of entry.  Thailand has also just opened up its visa requirements to Chinese tourists, allowing them 4 months visa-free travel.

"If more favourable visa policies can be made available, it is natural many more mainlanders will opt to travel abroad. It would mean more business for US tour operators at destinations where mainlanders face language problems," Zhang Rui said.

Last year, 45 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad, and this number is set to increase by 12 per cent annually, according to the National Tourism Administration, which far outweighs the global average growth rate of less than 2 per cent.

China's Tourism Green Book also says Chinese tend to choose destinations where there money will go further.

"More tourists from the mainland, especially those with shopping on their agenda, pay close attention to the currency rate at destinations and prefer travelling to destinations where the Yuan is stronger," it said.


The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Chinese visa and immigration services.


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