China sees surge of foreign travelers following favorable measures
 updatetime:2024-07-05 18:07:51   Views:0 Source:Xinhua


Pakistani tourist Rana uses Pakistan's NayaPay mobile app to pay the bill at a restaurant in the Blue Harbor international shopping park in Chaoyang District of Beijing, capital of China, April 8, 2024. (Xinhua)

China recorded 14.64 million inbound trips made by foreigners in the first half of this year, up 152.7 percent year on year, following measures introduced since January, the country's immigration authority announced Friday.

The measures, which aim to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into China for business, education and tourism, included expanded visa-free policies, relaxed visa application requirements and simplified procedures, plus exemption of border checks for certain transit passengers and more convenient mobile payment for foreigners in China.

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) said at a press conference that the number of visa-free entries made by foreigners exceeded 8.54 million from January to June, accounting for 52 percent of the inbound trips and representing a year-on-year surge of 190.1 percent.

The NIA said the number of foreigners visiting China is expected to continue rising in the second half of this year. According to a recent report released by the China Tourism Academy (CTA), the inbound tourism market for foreigners is expected to recover to around 80 percent of 2019 levels, with trips by travelers from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and the Taiwan region back to pre-COVID levels.

In the first six months of the year, immigration authorities across China had processed 287 million inbound and outbound trips, marking a 70.9 percent rise year on year. Among them, around 137 million were made by mainland residents, 121 million by residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and 29.22 million by foreigners.

Figures from the NIA showed around 12.34 million ordinary passports were issued in the first half of 2024, a 23.2 percent increase from the same period last year. The number of documents issued for travel between the mainland and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan grew 7.8 percent to over 46.15 million. The number of port visas jumped by 267.9 percent to 686,000, and 388,000 stay permits and residence permits were issued for foreigners on the mainland.

Liang Xuecheng, a professor with the School of Economics and Management at Northwest University in Xi'an, said the demand for inbound trips to China and Chinese travelers' desire for outbound trips are still unleashing, with the facilitating policies expected to further stimulate tourism recovery.

The CTA found in a survey that over 60 percent of interviewed inbound travelers came to China primarily for a taste of its culture. Food and shopping also featured highly on the list of attractions.

Tania Medina, a 25-year-old Spanish, just concluded her maiden trip to China visa free. "China is safer than I thought. People are very nice when you try to speak Chinese," said Medina, who attends a Chinese-language school in Spain.

Medina said she was pleased to find the subway in Beijing much cheaper than in Spain and with even better air condition. "My Spanish bank card worked fine here and I also used Chinese payment tools WeChat and Alipay," she added.

Web Editor:MXJ