Recently, it has become easier for some foreigners to visit China. Under an experimental visa-free entry policy in effect from 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2024, holders of ordinary passports from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia are now entitled to visa-free travel to China for up to 15 days. The policy is expected to boost inbound tourism to China.
Inbound tourism has played a significant role in China’s modernization thanks to the country’s reform and opening up. It helped China earn foreign currency, accelerated the formation of a modern tourism system, improved the quality of services, promoted the continued opening of the tourism sector and enhanced people-to-people exchanges between China and the world.
China’s inbound tourism also has a global impact, and China recorded more than 145 million inbound tourist trips in 2019.
The world now has greater expectations from China’s inbound tourism. Foreign visitors not only want to visit beautiful landscapes, but also to see closely the lives of people in both rural and urban areas. Their purpose in visiting China is to understand the country and hear its voice.
Due to the brilliant prospects that China offers, foreign markets want to communicate closely with their Chinese counterparts, discover unique products and services, and develop sustainably with China’s inbound tourism market.
Meanwhile, China expects inbound tourism to help advance the Global Civilization Initiative and shape the landscape of tourism cooperation around the world. For example, inbound tourism, which is part of cultural exchange, can strengthen friendship between the peoples of China and the world, promote high-quality development, and accelerate high-level opening up. China’s inbound tourism should be and should be a global public product.
Currently, China’s inbound tourism and global tourism depend on each other. China should interact with the world to promote its inbound tourism in terms of development environment, tourism convenience, marketing, unique tourism attraction and talent cultivation.
First, the tourism authorities should guide the development of the inbound tourism market, closely monitor the changes in the tourism market among China and the main tourist destinations, adjust the management policies of tourist groups, and make efforts to attract tourists from the countries involved in the initiative. One belt, one road”.
Second, the relationship between inbound and inbound tourism must be properly managed. Inbound tourism must be integrated with the development of domestic tourism and social situations in the destinations. Tourists should have easy access to local infrastructure, public services, transport and internet. In addition, their demands and expectations must be met by market entities in order to promote the sustainable development of inbound tourism.
Third, related departments should cooperate to create mechanisms to improve the convenience of obtaining a visa and integrate resources to deal with ticketing issues.
Moreover, tourism entities should create themes and models to connect foreign tourists with China and create market products related to China’s modernization to attract foreign tourists. For example, people’s daily lives, enterprise innovations and products related to the BRI are sources of tourist attractions.
Efforts should be made to train tourism professionals, induct talent, improve their capabilities and provide incentives. Travel experts and enthusiasts can be brought into the industry to adapt to new business models.
All these moves can stimulate the qualitative development of inbound tourism. China’s tourism market must evolve to meet new demands for foreign visitors by promoting urban, culinary and health tourism. In addition, the integration between culture and tourism should be strengthened to help tourists experience China’s rich culture and history. The development of inbound tourism requires long-term efforts, but has a good perspective.
The author is the director of the International Institute of the Chinese Academy of Tourism. Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.