72-hour visa-free pol­icy well re­ceived by for­eign trav­el­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO - By ZHUANG TI zhuanti@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers and busi­ness­men ap­plauded Chengdu’s 72-hour visa-free pol­icy, which started in Septem­ber 2013.

The pol­icy al­lows tran­sit pas­sen­gers, who have a third coun­try visa and valid air ticket, to stay visa-free in Chengdu, in Sichuan prov­ince, for up to 72 hours.

“My col­leagues and I travel to Chengdu very fre­quently, so this pol­icy def­i­nitely makes our lives a lot eas­ier,” said Rudy Buttignol, pres­i­dent and CEO of Bri­tish Columbia’s Knowl­edge Net­work Co.

Buttignol is not the only one who has found the pol­icy con­ve­nient.

In 2013, a to­tal of 1.76 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers vis­ited Chengdu, an in­crease of 12.09 per­cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year.

Lo­cal tourism rev­enue reached 133 bil­lion yuan ($22 bil­lion) in 2013, an in­crease of 26.24 per­cent from 2012.

The pol­icy is also a bonus for the busi­ness in­dus­try as more busi­ness­men are will­ing to travel to the city, said Chen Bin, deputy di­rec­tor at the Chengdu In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data, Chengdu at­tracted 271.8 bil­lion yuan in in­vest­ment last year .With 22 For­tune 500 en­ter­prises start­ing busi­ness in the city in 2013, Chengdu is now home to 252 such com­pa­nies.

The pol­icy boosts lo­cal tourism and busi­ness due to its con­ve­nience for for­eign trav­el­ers, an of­fi­cial said.

Mo­dani, an Ital­ian ar­chi­tect, was the first per­son to take ad­van­tage of the pol­icy.

The CEO of an ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign firm vis­ited four lo­cal com­pa­nies within three days in Chengdu.

Af­ter the trip he co­op­er­ated with one of the com­pa­nies to set up his first ar­chi­tec­tural firm in the city.

“The new visa pol­icy be­comes one of our ad­van­tages in at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment,” Chen said.

Xue Lian, the project man­ager of the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in South­west China, said more busi­ness del­e­ga­tions would now con­sider stop­ping in Chengdu in­stead of go­ing straight to the “tra­di­tional des­ti­na­tions such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai.”

The pol­icy also ben­e­fits over­seas Chi­nese like Wen Wei and his daugh­ter, who want to visit their home­town more fre­quently.

Wen lives in Aus­tralia with his fam­ily and changed a trip to Ja­pan to visit Chengdu in­stead af­ter he no­ticed the new pol­icy.

“I can come home more of­ten now to meet with my fam­ily mem­bers and take a walk in those fa­mous scenic sites,” Wen said.

Chengdu’s govern­ment held a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote the pol­icy around the world.

In De­cem­ber 2013, Chengdu Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Chengdu Me­dia Group and Chengdu Daily gave 1,000 for­eign­ers a tour of the city.

The vis­i­tors were from some of the 51 coun­tries and re­gions in­cluded in the visa-free pol­icy, such as the United States, the United King­dom, Ja­pan, Italy, South Korea, Sin­ga­pore, France, and Ger­many.

The tourists vis­ited at­trac­tions like tem­ples, farms and mu­se­ums and tasted lo­cal foods.

“This is such a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for me and I know more about the city and its cul­ture now,” said Mia, a col­lege stu­dent from the United States.

“Next time when my friends ask me, I will tell them Chengdu has a lot more to ex­plore be­sides pan­das,” she added.

Chengdu is the fourth main­land city to im­ple­ment the pol­icy, fol­low­ing Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou.

An of­fi­cial of the Chengdu Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion said with more and more in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers ex­pected to visit in the fu­ture, the city is look­ing to im­prove tourism fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices.

“Pro­mo­tion events are part of the mar­ket­ing strat­egy and we hope people from other coun­tries and re­gions re­al­ize how beau­ti­ful and charm­ing Chengdu is,” he said.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Hand­i­craft masters are busy with em­broi­dery. The craft, also known as “nuhong”, means women’s needle­work and hand­i­crafts, and was pop­u­lar hun­dreds of years ago.

Kuan Al­ley first built in the Qing Dy­nasty is a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion.

Chengdu is the home of the gi­ant panda.

Qingcheng Moun­tains, birth­place of Tao­ism.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.