Hainan visa waiver program boosts international tourist arrivals
The plan is a milestone for Hainan Province, as the only tropical island province in China will be built into a platform for international economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.
To achieve the goal, the Hainan government has adopted a visa waiver program (VWP), which came into effect from 15th June 2010. The policy is valid only for foreign tour groups from 26 countries. It’s the first foreign visa waiver program that has been implemented by the Chinese government.
Tour groups from 26 countries can obtain the waiver through local travel agencies. Visitors from Taiwan can apply for the visa endorsement at entry ports to the mainland.
The 26 countries that enjoy the Hainan visa exemption are as follows (in alphabetic order):
Regulations of Hainan visa waiver
– The waiver policy stipulates that visa waiver tour groups should be sponsored by travel agencies in Hainan, and these should be companies offering tour guide services during the whole travel process. Travel agencies should submit tour group lists to border inspection authorities, and submit the list and itinerary to the appropriate public security departments.
– Within two hours of the tour group entering Hainan, the agency should submit the actual inbound information to the public security departments. Travel agencies should also submit accommodation information to the public security department daily, including the names of travelers, accommodation address as well as inbound and outbound travel details. Within two hours, if all members in a tour group or individuals of the group leave Hainan, travel agencies should submit the departure information to the public security.
– If travel agencies have not organized or sponsored visa waiver tour groups properly with the result that tourists can not enter Hainan or are stranded in Hainan, they should underwrite all the costs.
The tourists-friendly visa waiver program turns out to be an enhancer of Hainan’s tourism boom. Since the implementation of the visa waiver policy, official figures have shown that more than 40% of foreign visitors have chosen the streamlined system to visit Hainan. The island’s tourism authorities expect it to boost the number of overseas visitors to more than one million per year.