China Daily/Asia News Network
Cityscape of Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong Province, China (Shutterstock/Hit1912)
Guangdong province in South China will allow overseas travelers from 53 nations and regions to enjoy a 144-hour visa-free visit starting in May, with an aim to further promote the province’s tourism industry.
Lin Weixiong, deputy director general of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, said foreign passengers can visit all of Guangdong’s 21 prefecture-level cities when they have entered the province.
“In addition to the international airports, foreigners can enter and leave Guangdong through the four railways, the eight land and 15 water ports in the province,” Lin said at a news conference in the Guangdong provincial capital of Guangzhou on April 30.
“The new visa-free policy will play a very active role in promoting regional economic construction in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and advancing cooperation between Guangdong and the neighboring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in the following years,” Lin said.
The entry and exit and customs departments have now established special channels in airports, rail, land and water ports and are preparing to help foreign travelers through the procedures for 144-hour visa-free stays in Guangdong, he added.
Zhang Yimin, deputy director general of the Guangdong Department of Culture and Tourism, said the 144-hour visa-free policy will help make Guangdong, window of the country’s reform and opening-up, one of the major destinations for tourists from around the world.
He urged travel agencies and related units in the province to introduce more special tourist routes with local features and offer even better services to foreign visitors. He suggested more foreign tourists tour and enjoy the rich Lingnan (South China) culture, cuisines and scenic spots.
Guangdong earned 1.36 trillion yuan ($203 billion) from tourism in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 13.5 percent. The province attracted more than 37.47 million tourists who stayed in the province at least one night in the previous year, up 2.8 percent compared to the year before.
Qi Yaoming, a senior executive from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, said the 144-hour visa-free policy will help attract more international passengers in the months to come and fortify its status as one of the major international aviation hubs in the world.
The airport, one of the busiest in the mainland, handled more than 70 million passenger visits last year. The figure is expected to reach more than 80 million in 2020.
More than 80 airlines from around the world have opened 222 domestic and international flights to link the southern metropolis with the rest of the country and around the world.