Global agents look to further tapping China's inbound travel business

Keith Andrew, a travel agent from Britain, has given out hundreds of his name cards within just two days.

Keith Andrew, a travel agent from Britain, has given out hundreds of his name cards within just two days.

He attended the 13th China Tourism Industry Exposition held in north China's Tianjin Municipality. The three-day event attracted more than 100 foreign tour agents to seek exchanges and cooperation with their Chinese counterparts in the tourism sector.

"China will always be attractive to people to visit because of its different and mysterious architecture, food, cultures, and scenery," Andrew said.

While China is seeing a rapid recovery in the domestic tourism sector, the demand for China-inbound tours is also increasing, creating more opportunities for global travel agents.

Immigration departments across China inspected 168 million border entries and exits in the first half of this year, up nearly 170 percent year on year, according to the National Immigration Administration.

"Many of my friends have the demands to come to China. I think it's a good chance to create good markets here," said Jose Bermejo, a Spanish tour agent, adding that he has huge expectations for the Chinese market.

China has launched a series of policies to facilitate inbound tourists.

Inbound group travel services for foreigners offered by domestic travel agencies and online travel companies resumed in late March this year, and the National Immigration Administration optimized its exit and entry management policies and measures from May 15, 2023, a new move to facilitate the entry-exit exchanges of personnel and promote the opening up of the service industry.

"Chinese government makes it easier for foreigners to visit, and it's already making some big improvement," Andrew said, adding that the electronic visa makes it more convenient for foreigners to visit, and the 144-hour transit visa exemption program for travelers from many countries has further benefited the tourism industry.

Alipay and WeChat Pay, China's two major online payment platforms, recently allowed foreign users to link international credit cards to their platforms, enabling them to use mobile payments across China.

"Every person that I bring in from another country to visit China will change the idea of what they think the country was. And they may also tell people about China, how modern and developed it is, and their good experience," Andrew said.

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