BEIJING — China will offer greater visa-free access for tourists from 59 countries to Hainan from May 1, in a move to support reform and opening-up in the country’s southernmost island province, the State Immigration Administration announced on April 18.
Under the new policy, group and individual tourists from 59 countries, including Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, can visit Hainan visa-free and stay there for up to 30 days on condition that they book their tour through travel agencies.
Hainan has offered a 15-day visa-free stay for group tourists from 21 countries since 2000, and added another five countries to the list in 2010.
“By extending the policy to individuals and the stay to up to 30 days, the government aims to attract more international tourists, nurture the tourism industry and meet the needs of foreign individuals,” said the administration’s vice-head Qu Yunhai.
The eased 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 to deepen reform and opening-up, released by central authorities on April 14.
The island has become a famous tropical resort for overseas tourists in recent years, with the number of overseas tourists exceeding 1.1 million in 2017, up nearly 50 percent year-on-year.