Guangzhou to offer free city tour to foreign visitors in transit

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou China Daily Updated: June 20, 2024

Starting later this month, foreign visitors taking advantage of China's 144-hour visa-free transit policy will be offered a complimentary one-day city tour in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, as the city looks to capitalize on the rebound of inbound tourism in the nation.

The new service, organized by a major travel agency in Guangzhou, includes a bus tour, an English-speaking guide, sightseeing and a Cantonese dim sum lunch, according to the city's culture, broadcast, television and tourism bureau.

The tour will take visitors to Huacheng Square, the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Yuexiu Park — home to the iconic five-ram statue — the Guangdong Museum, the Guangzhou Library, the Guangzhou Opera House and the landmark Canton Tower.

Visitors will be able to sign up for the tour at a designated counter at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The exact launch date of the service will be announced soon.

The initiative aims to promote tourism in Guangzhou, the bureau said.

China has seen a resurgence in inbound tourism this year, with central and local governments implementing policies to remove major barriers for foreign tourists, including offering them visa-free entry and easier mobile payment options.

The National Immigration Administration issued 466,000 visas to foreign nationals in the first quarter of this year, up nearly 120 percent year-on-year. Nearly 2 million visits were made to the Chinese mainland by visa-exempt foreign nationals during the same period, a 266 percent increase.

Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong and a major commercial hub in South China, has led the country in airport passenger throughput for four consecutive years.

More international and regional air routes to and from Guangzhou's airport are planned for later this year, including routes between Guangzhou and London's Gatwick Airport; Perth, Australia; Budapest, Hungary; and Belgrade, Serbia, according to China Southern Airlines. Flights between Guangzhou and Adelaide in Australia, Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam, and Surabaya in Indonesia will also be resumed.

Providing free one-day tours for transit travelers is a common practice among international air hub cities such as Istanbul, Doha and Dubai, said Zhao Wenzhi, chairman and president of the Guangzhou-based GZL International Travel Service. Guangzhou's initiative is expected to benefit inbound tourism and further promote the city to international travelers, Zhao added.