Beijing eager to woo more foreign tourists

Tourists at the Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing's attractions

Beijing is aiming to further grow its inbound arrival numbers by dangling perks such as a seven-day transit visa-free policy, sales tax rebates and cash subventions for international MICE groups.

The aim this year is to further push foreign arrivals into China’s capital past last year’s four million, shared Zhang Hongyi, director, Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau, at the sidelines of the recent PATA Annual Summit 2019 in Cebu City.

Tourists at the Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing’s attractions

While Zhang did not disclose the growth target this year, data from Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics indicated the four million arrivals last year was two per cent more than in 2017. Of the four million, 1.7 million hailed from Asia.

And although Beijing offers a 144-hour visa-free transit, this initiative is not well-known to international travellers. The policy, which has been implemented since December 28, 2017, indicates that foreign travellers from 53 countries who hold valid travel documents and air tickets for an onward journey to a third country, can make use of this visa-free transit.

Eight tours also have been created by the tourism administration for layover passengers – Imperial Cultural, Great Wall, Museum, Folk Craft Experience, Chinese Medicine, Culinary, Night Entertainment and Olympic Winter.

In addition, Beijing’s sales tax refund policy enables tourists, staying for less than six months, up to 11 per cent tax rebate at over 500 designated stores for purchases valued at RMB500 (US$72) or more.

On the international MICE front, China’s capital city also offers cash subvention, subject to several criteria, in addition providing assistance for pre-tour arrangements, city support letters and promotional materials.

When the Beijing Daxing International Airport – the city’s second airport – opens in September this year, it is expected to improve accessibility to China’s capital, said Zhang.

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