Southeast Asian tourists make beeline for China as visa rules eased

By Hoang Vu   June 3, 2024 | 11:39 pm PT
Southeast Asian tourists make beeline for China as visa rules eased
A woman poses for pictures amid tourists visiting the Badaling section of the Great Wall on the National Day holiday in Beijing, China, Oct. 1, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Travel bookings to China from Southeast Asia have increased by “several times” this year from pre-pandemic levels, data from online booking platform Klook shows.

People from parts of the region "don’t have that many places they can go that are visa-free and so China has now become one of the major places that they really travel to," Ethan Lin, Klook’s chief executive was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

China has in recent months eased visa rules for nationals of Southeast Asian countries.

In March Thailand and China permanently waived visas for each other's citizens.

Since February China and Singapore have been offering a mutual 30-day visa-free stay.

China recently agreed to double visa exemptions for Malaysian tourists to 30 days. It started allowing Malaysian tourists visa-free stays for 15 days in December last year.

China is also a major source of tourists for Southeast Asian countries.

Thailand received the highest number of Chinese tourists in Southeast Asia at 1.75 million during the first quarter, followed by Vietnam and Singapore.

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