Approved by the State Council, a 15-day visa-free policy will go into effect at Shanghai International Port since October 1. This policy allows oversea tourist groups (2 people and the above) on cruises to enter Shanghai International Port and travel in the coastal provinces and to Beijing for up to 15 days.
Foreign tourist groups on tours must be arranged by registered Chinese tourism agencies. Local travel agencies must submit the names of members of foreign tourist groups before their arrival and obtain approval for entry from the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection when their cruise ship reaches the port.
The new policy follows the implementation in January of the country's first cross-region visa-free transit policy, which enables foreign visitors from 51 countries to pass through the Yangtze River Delta region to a third destination without a visa for up to 144 hours.
"The visa-free policy is expected to attract more foreign tourists on cruises to Shanghai and other places, boosting the development of Shanghai's cruise tourism industry," said a senior officer at the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection.
He added that the policy will also inspire local travel agencies to design more routes in the region for foreign cruise travelers, promoting the growth of the catering, hospitality, transportation and retail sectors.
Shanghai international Port is expected to be one of the largest cruise ports in the Asia Pacific area. It is to become the home port of about 15 cruises by the year of 2020, with a total of 1.5 million to 2 million visitors entering the port each year.