HAIKOU, China, 23 April 20, 2018: China has confirmed it will offer visa-free access for tourists from 59 countries to Hainan 1 May.
In a move to support reform and opening up in the country’s southernmost island province, the State Immigration Administration announced the visa-free scheme.
Clearer details emerged on the visa-free scheme following wire news reports earlier in April. TTR Weekly 19 April Hainan visa-free.
Asian nationalities on the list include Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
Since 2000, Hainan offered a 15-day visa-free stay for group tourists from 21 countries and added another five countries to the list in 2010.
Now visa-free travel is open to individuals who can stay for up to 30 days.
“ The government aims to attract more international tourists, nurture the tourism industry and meet the needs of foreign individuals,” said Hainan’s administration’s vice head Qu Yunhai.
Visa-free access to Hainan is part of China’s effort to build the province into “a free trade port with Chinese characteristics,” as stated in the guidelines on supporting Hainan.
Overseas tourists to Hainan exceeded 1.1 million in 2017, up nearly 50% year on year.
Last year, Hainan received nearly 320,000 tourists from the 26 countries with visa-free access for group tour bookings, 3.5 times the number recorded in 2016.
Tourists from Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Russia accounted for more than 90% of visits.
The association of travel agencies in Haikou, capital of Hainan, plans to offer language and cultural training to employees with more than 200 local travel agencies, according to Mai Weiwen, secretary-general of the association.
More direct flights are planned to countries with visa-free access. Hainan already has 57 international flights to countries including Germany, Malaysia and Thailand, with plans for at least 16 new overseas routes this year. It aims to have at least 100 overseas routes by 2020.
Nationalities on the visa-free list:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
United Arab Emirates
(SOURCE Hainan Tourism Development Commission)