Latest tourism figures show double-digit growth, but visas are still a problem
China Market Rules & Law
In the aftermath of the holiday for Chinese New Year, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) announced that the rise in outbound tourism surpassed domestic tourism more, with 18% and 14% growth respectively. The trend was helped by the growing number of countries and regions that are introducing a procedure of granting visas on arrival for Chinese travelers; Beijing authorities recently announced that the number of countries that do so rose from 44 to 45. The name of the new region or country has not been disclosed.
In the classification compiled by Henley & Partners, China ranks 82nd for the number of nations and territories that can be entered without a visa by Chinese citizens. These are mainly Southeast Asian countries and East African states. With a forecast of 150 million visitors going abroad by 2020, China is pushing to enlarge the total number of countries that allow relaxed visa policies for its citizens, remarked Huang Ping, general director for the Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in January. Looking at data for last yearâ€™s Spring Festival, CNTA stressed the great benefits that tourism businesses and Chinese travelers to Thailand enjoyed following the introduction of a visa-free policy for individuals.
During the lunar New Year, China registered 231 million domestic trips and 4,7 million trips abroad. According to surveys by the China Tourism Academy (CTA), Hainan island and Guangdong were the most visited domestic destinations in the south, while the Heilongjiang winter sports area was the most visited in the northeast. Chinese outbound tourists, families in particular, chose Japan and South Korea as top destinations, while Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are growing as emerging markets.