China’s visa-free travel promotes business with Europe

BARCELONA, Spain, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — China’s visa-free travel initiative is an important step towards facilitating business with Europe, the Spanish CEO of China-Europe Consultants told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“For business people especially, who often need flexibility when it comes to travelling, this initiative has been a big change for the better,” said Marin Orriols, referring to China’s decision in November to allow citizens of several countries to travel to China without a visa.

Orriols, who is based in Barcelona, has been doing business in China for 20 years. Earlier this month, he took advantage of the new visa-free situation to travel to Guangdong Province, visiting Shenzhen and Guangzhou. He described the experience as “gratifying.”

“When you get to China, in my case Shenzhen airport, you obviously have to go through passport control but you now pass through more quickly because you no longer have to show a visa,” he added.

The trial initiative, which began on Dec. 1 and will continue until Nov. 30, allows passport holders from seven European countries — Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Switzerland — to travel to China for up to 15 days without the need for a visa.

Orriols stressed that the measure is particularly helpful for business people, who often need to travel at short notice, but will also benefit foreign tourism in China.

“It not only makes it easier for people from different countries to do business with China, but it also makes it easier for tourists: to attract them … in a way that is more agile, easier and above all less costly,” he said.

One of the main benefits of the trial measure, Orriols said, is the removal of the obligation to apply for a visa weeks before traveling, which was a long and expensive process.

The measure has been introduced as part of the Chinese government’s efforts to explore ways of boosting the economy, he underlined.

“China needs to open up, needs to find new markets, needs foreign companies to invest there, needs to find ways to reactivate its economy,” he said.

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