Around 8,300 foreign tourists have benefited from the 72 hour transit visa granted to citizens from 45 countries at Shanghai airports.
According to the new policy, tourists holding third country visas and confirmed onward air tickets now are allowed to travel Shanghai for 72 hours without a visa.
By Sept 1, around 8,300 foreigners had benefited from the policy, the inspection departments said. US citizens made the most use of the policy, with 1,200 making three-day visa-free stays in Shanghai in the first eight months and more than 670 tourists from European countries including Germany, France and the United Kingdom also benefiting from the policy during the period.
The city plans on extending the policy to cruise ship terminals and setting up duty free stores and tax-refund outlets there in order to consolidate its status as a global hot spot.
However, according to Zhao Huanyan, senior researcher at the Tourism Research Institute of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the rise in transit passengers is lower than expected. He said the number of transit passengers was dragged down by the overall drop of inbound tourists partly due to the stronger yuan and the weak global economy
Currently four cities — Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu — employ the 72-hour visa-free policy with Kunming planning to introduce similar measures soon.
[By Sam Canpadee]