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Xi’an and Qingdao are joining the Individual Travel scheme

The two mainland cities have a combined population of 23 million, significantly increasing the pool of independent mainland Chinese travellers able to visit Macao and Hong Kong.

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Macao can hope to see more independent travellers from the mainland Chinese cities of Xi’an and Qingdao, according to a statement released by the Government Information Bureau.

The inclusion of the two major mainland Chinese in the Facilitated Individual Travel scheme (FIT) takes effect on 6 March. 

They will bring the total number of mainland cities covered by the scheme up to 51. Xi’an and Qingdao are home to more than 13 and 10 million people, respectively – significantly increasing the pool of potential independent visitors for both Macao and Hong Kong.

[See more: Visitors to Macao in 2023 spent more than they did before the pandemic]

“This latest addition to the FIT scheme not only benefits the further development of the tourism industry and related sectors, but also promotes interaction and exchange between mainland residents and Macao,” the official statement read.

It said that Macao had already made improvements in immigration procedures, customs clearance and “transportation arrangements,” making crossing the border more convenient for visitors. That was in addition to enhancing “the overall reception capacity of the industry”.

The FIT scheme was launched in 2003 and currently allows eligible visitors to spend up to seven days in the SARs every three months. 

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