The Chinese island province of Hainan has updated its visa-free policy, allowing tourists from 59 different nations to visit for up to 30 days if they depart from, or transit through, countries with direct flights to Hainan.
This update provides a significant change to the details of the policy, which previously only covered 26 countries for 15 or 21 days (depending on country of origin). The changes are aimed at increasing tourism to the region under the management of China’s State Immigration Administration (SIA) and the Ministry of Public Security.
Hainan, sometimes called ‘China’s Hawaii’, enjoys a warm and tropical or subtropical climate all year round, with temperatures averaging 23°C in October and November. The Chinese government is reportedly using Hainan as aand has begun increasing the infrastructure to lure more yacht and superyacht visitors.
11 countries from Asia and the Middle East now qualify for visa-free travel, including Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Australia and New Zealand are also included in the new policy.
North and South American nations Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the U.S.A. are also covered, while 40 countries in Europe will also be able to benefit from the loosening of the restrictions.
European countries Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia (FYROM), Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and the U.K. are all included in the policy update.
This new policy is of particular note to the superyacht industry, with visitors to all maritime ports eligible for the 30-day visa-free travel (as long as guests are picked up by a Hainan travel agency from said port). Airport arrivals are also eligible.
Under the visa-free travel exemption, tourists will be able to travel within Hainan province, including the administrative zones of Sanya, Haikou and Sansha, but not to mainland China.
To qualify for the benefits, visitors to Hainan must declare personal information (including passport numbers, return flight information, accommodation details and travel itinerary) to the travel agency in their home country, who will arrange the details with Hainan’s own travel agents. The Hainan agent must be advised at least 48 hours in advance to allow time to process the information and pass it to the necessary departments 24 hours prior to entry.
Once all the information has been cleared and necessary paperwork filed, tourists may stay visa-free for up to 30 days. To arrange a longer stay, visitors must contact a local travel agency in Hainan to discuss the process.