China tightens visa regulations
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China has tightened is entry requirements for international visitors.
Travellers applying for tourist visas must now submit a letter of invitation from a person or company in China, as well as proof of hotel reservations and a copy of their return air ticket.
It is not clear why the regulations have been tightened, but the move comes at a time when Chinese authorities are increasingly clamping down on foreign nationals in the country. In June, Beijing commenced a 100-day campaign to identify and expel people living and working in the country illegally, with police conducting spot checks for visas and resident permits. It has also asked people to inform authorities if they know of people living in the country illegally. The move followed the much publicised case of a Chinese girl being attacked by a man residing illegally in the country, which stoked considerable anti-foreigner sentiment in China.
The latest move however, is likely to have little impact on the issue of illegal immigration or crime prevention. But it is expected to have a considerable effect on the country’s inbound tourism sector. China is the world’s third most visited country, attracting 57.6 million tourists in 2010, generating an estimated US$48.5bn in revenues.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has predicted that China will become the world’s most popular tourist destination by 2015, although this could now be under threat