(Yicai Global) April 18 -- Citizens of 59 countries will no longer need visas to visit the island province of Hainan, the Chinese government announced today.
The latest policy to extend visa-free access to deepen the island’s opening to the outside world seeks to further develop tourism in the nation’s southernmost and traditionally under-developed province, which is billed as China’s Hawaii.
The visa-free policy for inbound tourism for 59 countries will come into force May 1, with visa-less stays uniformly extended to 30 days.
Current policy grants nationals of 26 countries unfettered entry to the resort island and allows a stay of up to 15 days.
The 33 additions to the list are mainly European, especially Eastern European countries, but also include major nations in far-off Latin America -- Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Newly-added Asian countries include Brunei Darussalam, the United Arab Emirates and the Emirate of Qatar, with the latter two the first West Asian countries to join the roll.
The Chinese government issued a policy document last week to ply a more open international free-trade port policy in Hainan than in its other provinces.
Tourism, a modern service industry, and high and new technology will become the leading sectors for economic development in Hainan, which has transformed from a backward island on China’s southern fringe into an ever-more prosperous and tourist magnet since it officially became a Chinese province in 1988, as Yicai Global reported yesterday.
Editors: Ben Armour