3rd December 2023 – (Brussels) In a recent interview with Xinhua, Luigi Gambardella, the president of ChinaEU, a Brussels-based international digital association, commended China’s new visa-free policy. The Chinese government has decided to implement a trial unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia, according to a statement published on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s social media account.
Starting from 1st December, 2023, until 30th November, 2024, passport holders from the aforementioned six countries can enter China visa-free for various purposes, including business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit, for a maximum duration of 15 days, as stated in the online announcement.
Gambardella expressed his belief that the new visa-free policy will enhance travel opportunities, facilitate cultural exchanges, and strengthen economic ties. He emphasized the transformative power of first-hand experiences, noting that many people abandon stereotypical views of China after their initial visit. The president of ChinaEU also praised the progress China has made since his first visit in 2014, stating that the country is now better equipped to welcome guests from around the world.
The impact of China’s visa-free policy is already evident, as Trip.com reports a surge of over 30 per cent in visits to their “China Travel Guide” page since the policy’s announcement. Long-haul inbound travel, especially from Europe, has shown signs of recovery in the first ten months of 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Gambardella expressed his hope for the expansion of the visa-free program to more Schengen countries and encouraged more Chinese tourists to visit Europe, which would help boost the local tourism industry and promote bilateral exchanges. He highlighted the positive economic impact of attracting Chinese tourists and business travellers, given China’s size and economic development. Furthermore, he emphasized that this approach could foster a spirit of cooperation and understanding between Europe and China.
The president of ChinaEU also mentioned the convenience offered to travellers in China, as Alipay and WeChat Pay now accept international bank cards, eliminating the need for currency exchange worries during their stay.