China’s visa-free policy makes it easier for Australians and New Zealanders travel to China

China’s visa-free policy makes it easier for Australians and New Zealanders travel to China

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New Zealand and Australian citizens will find it easier to explore the wonders of China thanks to a recent development that has significantly simplified travel requirements.

During his just-concluded visits to New Zealand and Australia, Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced that China will include these two Oceanian nations in its list of unilateral visa-free countries. This means that New Zealand and Australian passport holders will be able t>o enter China without a visa for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit, for up to 15 days.

The effect of this decision was immediate. Just half an hour after the announcement, the number of people in Australia searching for China-related keywords on the international tourism platform surged by over 80 percent compared to the previous day.

Visas have long been considered a pain point for travel due to their often-complex procedures and added costs. Removing the barrier is a welcome change for the travel industry, said Anthony Spark, director of South Australia-based travel agency Spark Travel.

Echoing Spark, other tourism experts and industry representatives enthusiastically embrace the simplified travel requirements, saying it will enhance tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

David Su, a long-time tourism practitioner living in New Zealand, believes the decision will facilitate travel, while also creating a new growth opportunity for outbound tourism from New Zealand, making it easier for New Zealanders to enter China or transit through.

New Zealand anticipates a tourism boost to China from October this year, Li Ruiqin, managing director of China Travel Service in New Zealand, said.

New Zealand’s leading tourism companies and agencies have been exploring the Chinese market since early this year, Li said.

“They are stunned by delicious and diversified Chinese food, the efficiency of high-speed trains and the boom of electric cars in the cities during their trip to China,” he said.

For Australians, there is no doubt that the decision will encourage them to consider China for their next trip, Spark said.

“China is a very accessible country for Australians with many great tour packages, including cruise and land options, available to book. I would also expect people with extended family or friends in China to now look favorably towards China for their next holiday,” he said.

During Premier Li’s meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday, the two sides agreed to provide each other with reciprocal access to multi-entry visas of up to three to five years’ duration for tourism, business and visiting family members.

Songshan Huang, a professor of tourism at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, said: “Accordingly, we will also expect a higher volume of reversed tourist flow from China to Australia.”

The latest visa policy is a sincere gesture that China would like to further its people-to-people exchanges with other countries, Huang said.

Bilateral tourism exchanges are all about “getting to know each other and forging personal relationships, which then lead to securing further connections such as business and cultural exchanges. Friendly encounters are where it all begins and where the benefits abound,” said professor Chris Ryan from the School of Management and Marketing Operations at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

The 14 countries that have visa-free travel arrangements with China.

The 14 countries that have visa-free travel arrangements with China.
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