China’s Hainan offer ‘free visa’ for tourists from 59 countries

Hainan, a small southern island province of China, plans to offer visa-free on arrival for over 59 countries. According to media reports, the policy might come into force from 1st May in which the travellers are permitted to stay for over 30 days.

As part of the new policy, individual tourist and groups from countries namely Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, can visit Hainan visa-free and stay there for up to 30 days on conditions. However, since 2000 Haina has offered a 15-day visa-free stay for over 21 countries, which was extended to more countries back in 2010.

The island province has a huge potential in tourism as the city administration is about to open the new round-island tourism waterway by 2020. The destination also hosts a wide variety of reefs, small islands and other water sports adventures. Last year, Hainan has received about 320,000 tourists from over 26 countries with visa-free access, 3.5 times the number recorded in 2016. Most of the arrivals were recorded from Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Russia.

“The policy will inject vitality into Hainan and bring us closer to our goal of becoming a world-class destination,” said Sun Ying, director of Hainan Tourism Development Commission.

“Opening the Paracels (islands) to foreign travellers could also help China politically. It could be a way for China to support its sovereignty claims and show that it controls administration activities in the area,” said Collin Koh, a security researcher at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.