China Plans to Expand Visa-Free Policy
The Chinese government is considering further expanding its 72-hour visa-free policy to additional areas throughout China, as well as continuing its efforts in expediting visa processing to other areas of China. A 72-hour visa-free policy is currently in place for travelers from the United States, Canada and 49 other countries, and allows transit passengers to enter select Chinese cities for up to 72 hours without a visa. Passengers with a booked plane ticket to a third country or region for within 72 hours can explore Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Kunming, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Guilin or Xi’an visa-free. Tourism officials hope that the visa-free allowances will boost tourism to these areas of China.
Wave of New Theme Parks Following Disney’s Lead in China
With the $4.4-billion Shanghai Disney resort slated to open in 2015 or early 2016, other major theme parks are following suit and investing in China. Universal Studios plans to debut a $2-billion movie theme park in Beijing, and Six Flags has plans to build and operate multiple amusement parks throughout China over the next decade
China National Day, Golden Week (October 1-8)
National Day Golden Week begins on October 1 and allows seven continuous days of holiday for the entire country. Please be mindful of this when planning travel during this time, as it may mean that major attractions such as the Forbidden City will be busier than normal.
Historic Ensemble of Potala Palace, Lhasa
The Potala Palace in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region sits at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. Made up of the White and Red Palaces and their ancillary buildings, the massive construction of multiple buildings, gates, walls, stairs and turrets of stone make it an impressive piece of historic architecture. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, it has also been the residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century and the central location for the Tibetan administration. The 13 stories of buildings contain more than 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and hundreds of thousands of statues, and images of traditional Buddhist deities.