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Monday, December 17, 2012

Shanghai to permit 72 hrs visa free entry


China's largest city Shanghai is set to follow capital Beijing to permit 72-hour visa free entry for transit tourists from 45 countries.

Shanghai hopes to cement its burgeoning reputation as a global tourist hotspot by allowing visitors to spend three days in the city without a visa from January 1, a media report said.

As the new year commences, citizens from 45 countries will be permitted a 72-hour visa-free stay inside the “administrative area” of Shanghai, the municipal government said on Sunday.

The countries include the United States, France, Japan and Australia. The names of India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries are conspicuously missing from the list.

The same list, which is mostly confined to European countries, applies to Beijing also which officials hope significantly boost the market for Chinese products as most of the tourists may use it for quick marketing around.

Shanghai already had a programme allowing visitors from 32 countries a 48-hour visa-free stay.

“The extra 24 hours is of great significance and will boost tourism,” said Zhao Huanyan, senior researcher at the Tourism Research Institute under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Shanghai has a different charm than cities like Beijing or Xi'an.

It usually takes a longer time for tourists to be attracted to its beauty, say a night cruise on the Huangpu River, or a banquet and a shopping spree in the crooked alleys, Zhao said. “The extra day will also allow business visitors to the city, the financial center of the country, more time to enjoy a city tour.”

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