(Yicai Global) April 19 -- China will extend visa-free access to Hainan, China’s southernmost province, for tourists to 59 countries from the current 26 countries starting May 1.
The new policy is expected to lure fivefold the number of overseas tourists to the tropical island billed as ‘China’s Hawaii’ in the next few years, said Zhu Huiyong, chief revenue officer in China of US Travel Service TripAdvisor Inc.
The ranks of international tourists rose by less than 1 percent last year in China, but were up over 50 percent in Hainan, with the number of overseas tourists exceeding 1.1 million, thus meeting the provincial government’s tourism goal three years ahead of schedule. The foreign exchange earnings from tourism in the province have increased almost one and a half times to USD551.63 million, the Economic Observer reported today.
The provincial tourism agency has worked with TripAdvisor since 2015 to carry out promotion projects in key overseas markets such as Russia, the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. TripAdvisor is providing tourism marketing services for Hainan in 49 countries and in 28 languages.
With its unique natural advantages, Hainan has become the top vacation destination in China. International tourists from cold and inland areas prefer to take their vacations in Hainan and tend to linger after their long-distance travel, Zhu said.
The new policy allows tourists from the listed countries to visit the island visa-free and stay there for up to 30 days from May 1, a move to support reform and opening in the balmy, breezy province, the State Immigration Administration said yesterday. The province earlier granted 15- or 21-day visa-free stays for tourists from 26 countries.