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Business News/ News / World/  China offers visa-free entry for Germany, Italy, France, three other nations' citizens to boost tourism: Report
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China offers visa-free entry for Germany, Italy, France, three other nations' citizens to boost tourism: Report

Citizens from these six countries entering China for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, or transiting for no more than 15 days will not need a visa from 1 December to 30 November next year.

FILE PHOTO: People visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, in Beijing, China May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo (REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: People visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, in Beijing, China May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo (REUTERS)

In a bid to give a boost post-pandemic tourism, China will temporarily exempt citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia from needing visas to visit the country, reported Reuters on 27 November.

Citizens from these six countries entering China for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, or transiting for no more than 15 days will not need a visa from 1 December to 30 November next year, the news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesperson as saying.

In recent months, China has been taking steps - including restoring international flight routes - to revive its tourism sector following three years of strict COVID-19 measures that largely shut its borders to the outside world.

With this move, the government is also looking to re-establish its image around the world after clashing with many Western countries on various issues including COVID, human rights, Taiwan and trade.

ALSO READ: Centre asks states to review hospital preparedness amid China pneumonia scare, says ‘no need for alarm’

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey in 24 countries, views of China were broadly negative as 67 percent of adults expressing unfavourable views.

Over half of the respondents said China interfered in the affairs of other countries and did not take into account the interests of others.

"This decision will facilitate travel to China for many German citizens to an unprecedented extent," Germany's ambassador to China, Patricia Flor, said on the social media platform X.

"We hope that the Chinese government will implement the measures announced today for all EU member states," she said.

Adding more, she said that visa-free travel to Germany for Chinese nationals would only be possible only if all members of the European Schengen Agreement approved, she said.

Welcome move: 

Meanwhile, German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK)'s head of foreign trade hailed the announcement of a temporary visa exemption as "an important signal that can boost both tourism and economic exchange".

"Above all, the regulation facilitates the maintenance of German machines, the assurance of quality 'Made in Germany', entrepreneurial exchange and the cultivation of interpersonal contacts," Volker Treier said in an interview with Reuters.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who is in Beijing, wrote on X: "An excellent new announcement on the occasion of my visit from my counterpart Wang Yi!"

This month, China expanded its visa-free transit policy to 54 countries to include citizens of Norway.

In August, China scrapped all COVID test requirements for inbound travellers. It resumed 15-day visa-free entry for citizens of Singapore and Brunei in July.

Recently, the international flights in and out the country have been picking up.

In October, 16,680 weekly flights were expected from November through March, with passenger flights expected to reach 71 percent of the total four years ago, China's aviation authority said.

The European Chamber of Commerce in China also said the move would help boost business confidence. "It is a positive that the authorities are taking steps to facilitate people-to-people exchanges," it added.

With agency inputs.

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Published: 27 Nov 2023, 03:50 PM IST
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