Why is "China travel" a buzzword on social media?-Xinhua

Why is "China travel" a buzzword on social media?

Source: Xinhuanet

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-19 07:24:19

This screenshot shows the vlog series of their journey in China posted by British YouTube influencer, the Hutchinsons.

By You Huiyuan, Liu He

"China SHOCKED us", "an amazing place to start", "fancy and beautiful place"... Comments like this have poured into the "China travel" vlog series posted by British YouTube influencer, the Hutchinsons. Their vlog series has already captured more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.

Global tourists are flocking to China, since the Chinese government has expanded its visa-free policy and is creating a payment-friendly environment for foreigners.

According to data from the statistics platform Meltwater, during the first quarter of 2024, there were approximately 2,420 YouTube and TikTok videos containing keywords, such as "China," "trip," and "travel" in their headlines, five times higher than for the same period in 2023.

What makes China such a captivating destination for international visitors?

Visa-free policy

China's inbound tourism is heating up as the Chinese government continues to expand its visa-free "circle of friends" and create more favorable conditions for foreign travelers.

An increasing number of countries have been added to China's visa exemption list. In November 2023, China initiated a unilateral visa-free policy for six countries; In March this year alone, six additional European countries were included. 

China and Singapore implemented a mutual 30-day visa-free travel agreement, which came into effect on February 9. On March 1, a bilateral agreement on mutual visa exemption between China and Thailand took effect.

Most recently, on May 15, China enforced a policy allowing visa-free entry of foreign tourist groups aboard cruise ships via all cruise ship ports along the country's coastline.

The visa-free policy has significantly boosted foreign tourist arrivals. For example, China recorded 104,000 arrivals from nationals of France, a country on its visa-free list, since the beginning of the year, marking a nearly 295 percent increase from the same period in 2023.

Border police officers check documents of travelers at a border checkpoint of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in east China's Shanghai, March 14, 2024. (Photo by Wei Wenheng/Xinhua)

China's expansion of visa-free policy has been widely acclaimed in the international arena. According to Ralph Ossa, chief economist of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China's visa-free policy for European countries and the recovery of Chinese outbound tourism are conducive to global service trade.

Convenient payment methods

China has implemented a series of measures to upgrade physical payment and mobile payment services to enhance foreign visitors' convenience during their travels here.

To make tourist sites more payment-friendly, the Chinese government issued a circular to accept both domestic and overseas bank cards at popular tourist attractions. 

Moreover, the circular also stressed that major cultural and tourism attractions should retain ticket booths and ticketing staff to accommodate visitors who prefer cash payment options. 

In terms of mobile payments, a slew of upgrades have been secured. This March, China's central bank issued an e-CNY (digital yuan) user guide to benefit foreigners. Alipay, a major payment software in China, has increased its service languages to 16 from the earlier two -- Chinese and English, enhancing payment convenience for foreign travelers.

Maria (R) scans a QR code on a vending machine at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, capital of China, April 13, 2023. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

International tourists such as the Hutchinsons family are expected to pour in as China further extends its short-term visa exemptions and creates a better payment environment.

"I want to visit China again in the near future," said Mac Candee, a U.S. travel vlogger with about 2.5 million fans across social media platforms.

Tourists pick cherries at a cherry orchard in Taishan Village of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 24, 2024. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

Tourists visit a night market at Chengguan District in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, April 28, 2024. (Xinhua/Lang Bingbing)

Tourists visit the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, capital of China, May 2, 2024. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)