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21 Oct, 2014

Hangzhou offers 72-hour visa-free stays

HANGZHOU, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — East China’s Hangzhou City began to offer 72-hour visa-free entry for international transit passengers on Monday, a move to boost tourism and business.

The policy covers travelers from 51 countries, including the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Japan. They can enjoy a 72-hour stay in Zhejiang Province after entering the country via Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, providing they have third country visas and onward tickets to leave for a third country or region within 72 hours.

The move will boost international tourism, commercial and trade cooperation as well as cultural exchanges, said Chen Zongyao, a senior provincial government official on Monday.

Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, is one of the favorite destinations for domestic tourists. But its inbound tourism is weak.

In the first half of this year, Hangzhou received 48 million domestic tourist arrivals and only 1.5 million from overseas, according to the municipal tourism commission.

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.