China has announced visa-free travel for foreigners from dozens of countries wanting to visit the cities of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) – so long as they enter and exit the mainland from either Macao or Hong Kong as part of a package tour, TDM reports.
The scheme starts this month and will allow foreigners to spend six days in the GBA cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing – as well as the coastal city of Shantou.
The move may help stimulate Macao’s own visitor numbers through encouraging foreigners to start their Guangdong tours from the city – which is currently demonstrating a strong tourism performance for the week-long National Day holidays known as Golden Week. Almost 566,500 tourist arrivals have been recorded during the first four days of the holiday, according to official figures cited in local media.
The measure may also prove a boost to Macao’s aim of increasing the number of foreign arrivals as the city seeks to reduce its overwhelming dependence on the domestic tourism market.
China currently offers three-day and six-day visa-free transit periods to various nationalities visiting certain cities and regions, including Guangdong province, Beijing and Shanghai – provided they fly to a third country from the same airport they arrived at.
The Greater Bay Area also offers 30 days of visa-free travel to Hainan Province for citizens of 59 countries, and six-day visits to Guilin, Guangxi Province, to citizens from Southeast Asian nations who are part of package tours.
China re-opened its borders to foreign tourists in March this year, after shutting out the world for three years during the Covid-19 pandemic.