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Guangdong Tourism Industry Gets Boost From Policy: Official

The head of China's Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration said that the 144-hour visa-free policy has been welcomed by foreign tourists and more than 300,000 visitors since this policy came into effect on November 9, 2000.

Chairman of Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration Zheng Tongyang told a policy introduction meeting in Singapore Saturday that this policy, regarding foreign tourist groups visiting the Pearl River Delta cities via Hong Kong and Macao, is a great convenience to foreign tourists and has given a big impetus to Guangdong's tourism industry which registered a total of 67 million visitor arrivals from abroad and 64 million visitor arrivals from other parts of China last year.

He affirmed that Guangdong's tourism industry registered a growth of 18 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2001 both in terms of visitor arrivals and tourism earnings. "The growing momentum in Guangdong's tourism industry has not shown any weakening sign despite the slowdown in world economy," he said.

The 144-hour visa-free policy grants foreign tourists groups visa-free access to Pearl River Delta cities via Hong Kong and Macao for a stay of up to 144 hours and travel agencies are only required to present names of the people who are part of the tourist groups they have organized to visit these cities.

These 10 cities are Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou.

Foreign tourists can make an entry to these cities through any of the 40 inspection stations in the Pearl River Delta and no entry marks will be stamped on the tourists' passports.

The policy is applicable to all foreign ordinary passport holders whose countries have diplomatic relations with China and requires that each tourist group will have no less than three and no more than 40 members.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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