China’s new visa-free policy facilitates travels, strengthens ties, says expert

BRUSSELS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a business-led international digital association in Brussels, has recently in an interview with Xinhua lauded China’s new visa-free policy.

China has decided to implement a unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia on a trial basis, according to a statement published on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s social media account.

From Dec. 1, 2023 to Nov. 30, 2024, holders of ordinary passports from the above six countries may enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends and transit for no more than 15 days, the online statement said.

Gambardella said the application of the new visa-free policy will further facilitate travels, strengthen cultural exchanges and economic ties.

According to, visits to their “China Travel Guide” page have surged by over 30 percent since the policy’s announcement. In the first ten months of 2023, long-haul inbound travel, particularly from Europe, shows signs of recovery, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Noting that tourism promotes cultural exchanges and enhances better understanding between nations, Gambardella highlighted the transformative power of first-hand experiences and said many people abandon the stereotypical image of China after their first visit.

Gambardella praised the progress in China since his first visit to the country in 2014, saying that China is now better equipped to receive guests from all over the world.

“You don’t need to worry about currency exchange during your time in China, as Alipay and WeChat Pay now accept international bank cards,” he said.

In the interview, Gambardella expressed hope for an expansion of the visa-free program to more Schengen countries as well as more Chinese to visit Europe and help boost local tourism industry while further promoting bilateral exchanges.

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Given the size and economic development of China, attracting Chinese tourists and business travelers would have a substantial positive impact on local economies in Europe, he said.

And additionally this approach could also contribute to fostering a spirit of cooperation and understanding between Europe and China, he added.

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