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More cities to join China visa waiver scheme


Published on Aug 13, 2013

Kunming to become fourth city to offer 72 hours of visa-free travel
Kunming will become the fourth Chinese city to start offering 72-hour visa-free stays to transit tourists.

The China Daily reported this week that capital of southern China’s Yunnan province will join Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou in the visa waiver scheme. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is also expected to offer the facility in the near future.

The visa-free scheme is applicable to citizens from 45 countries, including all Schengen nations, Russia, UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and the UAE. It will allow three days of visa-free travel in and  around Kunming, for air passengers holding an onward ticket from Kunming Changshui International Airport to a third destination, no more than 72 hours after their inbound flight.

The initiative is intended to boost tourism and drive Chinese cities’ appeal as stopover hubs. However in Beijing at least, the benefits of the scheme have not been immediately noticeable. The Chinese capital launched the visa waiver programme on 1 January 2013, but in the first six months of the year visitor arrivals to the city actually fell 14%, largely due to declining traffic from Japan and South Korea.

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