Tourism ambitions prompt Hainan to lift Internet Firewall, widen visa-free access


Hainan is doubling down on tourism in a bold move to allow tourists access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in addition to offering visa-free entry into its Sanya for citizens of 59 countries, including eight of the 10 ASEAN nations.

According a Reuters report, a special “gathering zone” will be created in Hainan province for foreign tourists to access the social media websites, a significant exception in China’s hard-line ban of international social media sites, chat apps and search engines.

With a target for 25 per cent arrivals growth, Hainan relaxes rules to lure tourists

The relaxed ruling for tourists was part of a plan announced this month to boost visitor arrivals into the province to at least million by 2020, or by 25 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, a new policy came into effect in May to allow citizens from 59 countries visa-free entry into Sanya – Hainan’s southern-most island and key tourist destination – for stays of up to 30 days.

This applies to individual or group bookings made through travel agencies registered in Hainan Province and approved by the China National Tourism Administration.

The 59 countries that now enjoy the visa-free access to Hainan include: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, the UAE, Qatar, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Kazakhstan, Monaco and Belarus.

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