HomeInternationalChina sees 152.7% increase in inbound trips in the first half of...

China sees 152.7% increase in inbound trips in the first half of 2024

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China recorded 14.64 million inbound trips by foreigners in the first half of this year, marking a significant 152.7% increase year on year.

This surge follows the implementation of new measures introduced since January, aimed at facilitating the entry of foreign nationals for business, education, and tourism.

The country’s immigration authority announced these figures on Friday. The measures include expanded visa-free policies, relaxed visa application requirements, simplified procedures, exemptions from border checks for certain transit passengers, and more convenient mobile payment options for foreigners in China.

READ ALSO: China releases journalist 4 years after imprisonment for COVID coverage

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) reported at a news conference that from January to June, the number of visa-free entries by foreigners exceeded 8.54 million, accounting for 52% of all inbound trips and representing a year-on-year increase of 190.1%.

The NIA anticipates that the number of foreigners visiting China will continue to rise in the second half of the year.

A recent report by the China Tourism Academy (CTA) supports this, projecting that the inbound tourism market for foreigners will recover to around 80% of 2019 levels. Trips by travelers from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan have already returned to pre-COVID levels.

In the first six months of the year, immigration authorities across China processed 287 million inbound and outbound trips, a 70.9% increase year on year. Of these, around 137 million were made by mainland residents, 121 million by residents from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and 29.22 million by foreigners.

Figures from the NIA showed that around 12.34 million ordinary passports were issued in the first half of 2024, a 23.2% increase from the same period last year.

Documents issued for travel between the mainland and Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan grew by 7.8% to over 46.15 million. The number of port visas jumped by 267.9% to 686,000, and 388,000 stay permits and residence permits were issued for foreigners on the mainland.

Liang Xuecheng, a professor with the School of Economics and Management at Northwest University in Xi’an, noted the growing demand for inbound trips to China. He also highlighted that Chinese travelers’ desire for outbound trips is still strong, with the facilitating policies expected to further stimulate tourism recovery.

A survey by the CTA found that over 60% of interviewed inbound travelers came to China primarily to experience its culture, with food and shopping also being major attractions.

Tania Medina, a 25-year-old Spaniard, recently concluded her maiden trip to China visa-free. “China is safer than I thought. People are very nice when you try to speak Chinese,” said Medina, who attends a Chinese-language school in Spain.

She was pleased to find the subway in Beijing cheaper and with better air conditioning than in Spain. “My Spanish bank card worked fine here, and I also used Chinese payment tools WeChat and Alipay,” she added.

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