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Chinese Cities Announce Visa-Free Entry For 53 Nations

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| December 27 , 2017 , 15:41 IST

Visitors from 53 nations will now be able to visit Chinese cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province for up to 6 days without a visa from Thursday onwards, China's state-run People's Daily reported.

"The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will roll out a 144-hour visa-free transit policy to allow international visitors from 53 countries to stay in the region for up to 6 days without a visa starting from Thursday, Dec. 28," the People's Daily said in a tweet.

A similar 6-day visa-free transit policy had been introduced in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces last year.

The nations covered under the policy include the US, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and most of the European Union, although India is reportedly not one of the nations allowed free visa-on-arrival.

According to reports, the move is a part of the government's efforts to more closely integrate the economies and development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei as well as increase tourism.

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“The new policy covers citizens from almost all the developed countries in the world and six-day stays mean foreign visitors now have enough time to travel or to attend business conferences without needing to spend time and money on visa applications,” said Wang Huiyao, director of the Centre for China Globalisation think tank.

While Chinese tourists are the largest contributors to the international tourism market, China has struggled with drawing foreign tourists. Reasons behind the lesser amount of foreign tourists in China have been cited as strict visa policies, rising prices of yuan currency and pollution.

Statistics from the National Tourism Administration show that Chinese tourists made 62.03 million trips abroad in the first six months of the year itself, but foreigners only made 14.25 million trips to China.