China will allow visa-free entry for five EU countries and Malaysia

China has announced that it will allow visa-free entry for citizens of five European countries and Malaysia as it tries to encourage more people to visit for business and tourism

Via AP news wire
Saturday 25 November 2023 15:32 GMT
<p>China announces visa free travel to 5 EU countries and Malaysia   </p>

China announces visa free travel to 5 EU countries and Malaysia

China announced Friday that it will allow visa-free entry for citizens of five European countries and Malaysia as it tries to encourage more people to visit for business and tourism.

Starting Dec. 1, citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia will be allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without a visa. The trial program will be in effect for one year.

The aim is “to facilitate the high-quality development of Chinese and foreign personnel exchanges and high-level opening up to the outside world,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a daily briefing.

China's strict pandemic measures, which included required quarantines for all arrivals, discouraged many people from visiting for nearly three years. The restrictions were lifted early this year, but international travel has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

China previously allowed citizens of Brunei, Japan and Singapore to enter without a visa but suspended that after the COVID-19 outbreak. It resumed visa-free entry for Brunei and Singapore in July but has not done so for Japan.

In the first six months of the year, China recorded 8.4 million entries and exits by foreigners, according to immigration statistics. That compares to 977 million for all of 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

The government has been seeking foreign investment to help boost a sluggish economy, and some businesspeople have been coming for trade fairs and meetings, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Apple's Tim Cook. Foreign tourists are still a rare sight compared to before the pandemic.

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