Good news for tourists who have wanted to come to Beijing but don’t bother to get a Chinese visa: A 72-hour visa-free for foreign visitors from 45 countries who have outbound air tickets and visas to a third country, starting January 1st, 2013.

The move will bring much convenience for people who want to have a short stay in Beijng. Tourists holding third country visas and plane tickets can apply for a transit without visa (TWOV) at Beijing Capital International Airport from Jan 1st, 2013. The 72 hours will be calculated starting from the moment visitors get their transit stay permits instead of plane arriving. Foreign visitors are not permitted to leave Beijing for other Chinese cities during the 72 hours.

To help with the transit visitors, the airport will improve service facilities in the airport including special visa-free channels, said Li Chunfang, manager with the planning and development department of the airport. “We will set up a special service zone for transit visitors in our terminals, offering drinking water and reading materials,” Li elaborated, “Moreover, services including foreign currency exchange, mobile phone rental service, and left-luggage office will be provided for the convenience of tourists.”

This visa-free policy will boost the inbound tourist market and make Beijing much easier to access for people from other parts of the world. 72 hours is enough for tourists to cover several must-see attractions such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of  Heaven etc. It also allows tourists to take a Hutong tour, watch a Kung Fu show and have some Beijing Duck.

The 45 countries were listed in accordance with the numbers of inbound overnight visitors in Beijing from 2009 to 2011.
The 45 countries include:  the United States, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Greece, Brazil, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, and Qatar.

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