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15,000 visit city under visa-free scheme

More than 15,000 foreign visitors have taken advantage of a scheme launched last year offering 72-hour visa-free stays in the city for international transit passengers from 45 countries.


The largest number of travelers taking up the offer came from the United States.
 
About 2,300 US visitors used the service, followed by Australians and Germans.
 
Amd numbers from New Zealand, Britain, France and Canada reached more than 1,000 from each, the Shanghai Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection authorities said.
 
Take-up began slowly in the first quarter of last year, border inspection authorities said.
 
But as the policy became more widely known among foreign travelers, numbers increased significantly.
 
Officials said the figure is expected to grow further with the development of Shanghai pilot free trade zone and the opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort.
 
Applicants should notify their airline, which in turn applies for the visa-free stay with the local immigration authorities. A flight ticket with definite information of destination, date and boarding pass are required.
 
However, despite the promising figures, it does not seem to have provided a bonanza for the city’s tourism, at least yet.
 
Some one-day or two-day tour packages covering major scenic spots in the city specially targeting this group of tourists have not sold well, said Yang Guoxi, an official with the Shanghai Tourism Administration.
 
Most travelers visiting under the visa-free policy are on business trips, Yang said.