China tourist visits

China Opens Doors Wider: Visa-Free Travel Until 2025

As China broadens its horizons, the nation has enthusiastically extended its visa-free entry policy for citizens from 12 countries, including Malaysia, until the end of 2025.

The extension was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in France, during the closing ceremony of the Sixth Meeting of the China-France Business Council on May 6, 2024.

Initially launched for a select group of European countries and Malaysia in November 2023, the visa-free arrangement was set to expire in November 2024. However, the success of this policy and its positive impact on tourism and the economy prompted an extension.

Since lifting pandemic restrictions in 2023, China has seen a steady increase in international visitors. The National Immigration Administration reported that foreign nationals accounted for 13 million of the total 141 million exits and entries in the first quarter of 2024.

Although these numbers are still below the pre-pandemic highs, they mark a significant recovery from the travel lows experienced during the pandemic.

The visa-free extension is part of a broader strategy by China to reinvigorate its economy through international tourism.

This approach has included easing visa regulations and introducing similar visa-free entries for citizens of Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland starting mid-March 2024. Additional pilot programs have also been initiated for other European and Asian countries.

The 2023 data further highlights the gradual rebound, with 35.5 million entries and exits by foreigners, which represents about 36% of the pre-pandemic figures. The last quarter of 2023 alone accounted for more than half of these crossings, indicating a growing momentum that could continue into the next years.

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