@all: Redirect your flights from Shanghai to Beijing and expand your mind and lose the contents of your wallet exploring the cultural heart of China's capital with a new 144-hour visa-free entry, to be implemented by year's end.
The vice-mayor of Beijing, Cheng Hong, made the announcement late last week, saying that Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province will provide 144-hour visa-free entry, doubling the previous 72-hour length, in an effort to modernize and improve the area's service industry.
The gateway to hassle-free Beijing travel is nearly upon us
The vice-mayor did not specify the details regarding how exactly the visa-free entry will work, but we assume it will be similar to that of the regulations that were implemented in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong last year. In those areas, citizens of 53 countries have the option to land in and then freely roam for six days.
Vice-mayor Cheng Hong added that the change in policy should allow and encourage "the free circulation of resources" in the area of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the government's plan to boost the region's economy under its Jing-Jin-Ji project.
The adjustments seem to mainly be oriented to travelers with business interests and it should allow them to attend the conferences and other events in the area.
Together with the change of visa regulations, the local authorities also plan to reduce the hassle of setting up business and investments in the country. Currently, approximately 15 licenses are required from 11 different departments in order to even gain the right to set up a business as a foreign investor. Beijing hopes to offer a one-stop service for foreigners intending to invest in China, shortening the whole process to around five days.
While the government officials seem to be mostly focusing on business related trips, we'd be surprised if we didn't see a whole host of "arrival-to-departure tours" of Beijing and surrounding areas once the new regulations are ushered in. Let's just hope they don't require a VPN to book once you touch down.
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