Guangzhou today becomes the third Chinese city to offer 72-hour visa-free stays for air passengers. Riding on this positive news, China Southern is looking positively to promote this offer in the Middle East region.
From 1 August 2013, visitors from 45 countries transiting at Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport can stay in the city for up to three days, visa-free, if they hold an onward ticket. UAE and Qatari nationals are part of the 45 countries.
The launch follows similar schemes already rolled out in Beijing and Shanghai, while Chengdu is also expected to adopt the scheme in future. The visa-free scheme is also applicable to citizens of all Schengen nations, plus Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US, South Korea and Singapore, among others.
Elaborating on the benefits of the scheme for the region, Rayomand Kasad, assistant sales manager, China Southern Airline said: “This new scheme will benefit not just the airline but also the tourism industry for the Guangdong region. The airline has worked out several benefits with hotels, tourist companies and attractions in Guangzhou attached with the visa-free scheme.”
The move is expected to provide a boost to Guangzhou’s home carrier, China Southern Airlines, which is developing strong air links between Australia and Europe. The airline has announced plans to deploy the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on these routes effective October 2013.
“Plans are already underway to expand in the UAE by 2014. The The region has shown strong growth and we want to build on this momentum. We are positive that the visa-free scheme will boost tourism with the several cultural tours around the region,” added Kasad.
Passengers availing the 72 hour transit visa policy can take up trips designed by the airline which include half day, one and two day sightseeing tours. In addition, presentation of the boarding pass provides passengers substantial discounts at hotels, tourist attractions and tour companies.