Under the plan, which Xinhua reports has been backed by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), international travellers entering Urumqi at city’s Diwopu International Airport, who hold an onward ticket to a third destination within three days of their arrival, will be allowed to stay in the city without obtaining a visa prior to arrival.
The scheme covers citizens of 51 countries, including the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia and European Union nations. It has already been implemented in several major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an and Kunming.
But adding Urumqi to the list is likely to be more sensitive, due to the security operations being undertaken in the restive region.
Xinjiang currently has 16 airports, with 46 domestic and overseas airlines operating 184 routes to and from the province.