China Offers 15-Day Visa-Free Stay for Cruise Travelers To Boost Tourism

By Thea Felicity

May 16, 2024 02:03 PM EDT

Passengers take photos before boarding China's first domestically built cruise ship "The Adora Magic City" in Shanghai on January 1, 2024. China's first domestically built cruise ship set sail on its maiden voyage from Shanghai on January 1, a sign of the nation's growing prowess in sophisticated construction as it seeks self-sufficiency in key technologies.
(Photo : Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

China has announced a 15-day visa-free stay for international cruise travelers in select provinces. Per CNBC, the new regulations, which came into effect on Wednesday, represent a strategic move by Beijing to boost its cruise and tourism industry post-pandemic.

China's cruise industry has made notable progress recently, with the maiden voyage of the country's first domestically built cruise liner, the Adora Magic City, taking place on January 1. Introducing this visa-free travel policy is expected to increase growth in the sector further.

In addition to the visa-free stay for cruise travelers, China has expanded its visa-free transit policy, adding seven more cruise ports to the list of eligible entry points. 

This expansion aims to facilitate smoother transit experiences for travelers transiting through China to other destinations.

READ NEXT: New Zealand Enforces Tighter Visa Regulations Due to High Migration Levels

VISA-Free China Cruise Tour

Under the new policy, foreign tourists entering China via international cruises can stay for up to 15 days in designated provinces without needing a visa. 

However, there are specific requirements for eligibility. 

Travelers must enter through one of the 13 coastal cruise ports designated by China's National Immigration Administration (NIA). They must also be part of a tour group comprising a minimum of two individuals organized by a Chinese travel agency and depart the country on the same cruise.

China Tourism Sector

Last year, the country began reopening its borders and restoring international flight routes after three years of strict COVID-19 policies. China granted temporary visa exemptions for up to 15 days to incentivize travel to citizens of several countries, including Spain, France, Malaysia, and more. This was followed by a mutual visa exemption agreement with Singapore in February, which is set to remain valid until November of this year.

Efforts to improve the travel experience for foreign tourists have also been underway. For instance, VCPost mentioned that Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group recently introduced a feature allowing visitors to China to spend up to $2,000 a year through its Alipay mobile app without the need to register their ID with the company.

Despite these initiatives, China has faced challenges in restoring international tourist numbers to pre-pandemic levels. 

According to data from the NIA, the number of foreign travelers entering or leaving China in the first three months of this year was down by over 40% compared to the same period in 2019. 

READ MORE: China Raises Spending Limit for Foreigners Using Alipay Without ID Registration

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics