China Tests Visa-Free Travel for 6 Countries, Including France and Germany

In a groundbreaking move, China is experimenting with visa-free travel for citizens from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia. From December to November 2024, people from these nations can visit China for business or leisure without needing a visa for up to 15 days. This initiative aims to boost China’s development and openness, according to spokeswoman Mao Ning.

Typically, a visa is required for most travelers entering China. This trial echoes exceptions made for Singapore and Brunei citizens for short visits. It’s worth noting that China only resumed issuing all types of visas in March 2023 after imposing strict travel restrictions in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

China’s strict zero-Covid policy, which included travel restrictions, lockdowns, and frequent testing, lasted for three years and significantly impacted the economy. The policy was lifted in December 2022. Before the pandemic, China welcomed tens of millions of international visitors annually.

As we await further developments, this trial not only signals a potential shift in China’s approach to international travel but also raises questions about the future of global tourism in a post-pandemic era. (Source: BBC)

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