Hanzhou adopts 72-hour visa-free policy

Updated: 2014-10-22 16:34

By Yan Yiqi in Hangzhou, Zhejiang(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, started to offer 72-hour visa-free entry for international transit passengers on Monday as a move to boost tourism and business.

Travelers from 51 countries including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Japan may enter under the policy.

They can stay 72-hours within the province after they have entered China via the Hangzhou airport with third-country visas and confirmed plane tickets to leave for another country within the time limit.

Chen Zongyao, an official with Zhejiang provincial government, said on Monday that the policy will boost the province's inbound tourism, commercial activity and international cultural exchanges.

"The move is essential to the further economic and social development of Zhejiang province. It pushes forward its inbound tourism as well as various sorts of international business cooperation," he said.

Three days are ample time for traveling around Hangzhou and conducting business talks, Chen said.

"Tens of thousands of overseas travelers applied for a 72-hour visa-free stay after Shanghai and Guangzhou implemented similar policies," he said. "Rich in natural scenic spots and private economy, Zhejiang will definitely be attraction to foreigners."

The Hangzhou International Airport is the fourth largest airport on the Chinese mainland after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in terms of total passenger numbers.

In 2013, about 2.85 million people came through Hangzhou airport. Among them, 538,000 were overseas tourists. The airport now has 27 international flight routes linking the city with countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.

Xu Peng, deputy director of the Zhejiang Provincial Tourism Bureau, said the province is working on providing tourism routes and products to attract more foreign travelers.

The same visa-free policy is already in place in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian and Guilin.

The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a guideline in August to further expand the policy.