Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, became the third city in the Chinese mainland after Beijing and Shanghai to offer 72-hour visa-free transit to airline passengers and welcomed its first foreign tour group on Tuesday.
The 23 foreigners who are from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and France received a warm welcome from the China Southern Airlines and Guangzhou Tourism Bureau, the Guangzhilu International Travel Service and the airport administration at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
1. A wonderful Day
On the first day of arriving in Guangzhou, the tourists was arranged to enjoy a tasty start with a Cantonese breakfast at the Garden Hotel. After the delicious breakfast, they set off to the way of sightseeing.
Their first destination is the Chen Clan Academy, which was built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by the 72 Chen clans for their juniors’ accommodation and preparation for the imperial examinations at Zhongshan 7th Road.
Then, they were taken to the Canton Tower where they enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of whole Guangdong from the top of the tower. Canton Tower is a 600 m-high (2,000 ft) multi-purpose Chinese observation tower in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou (historically known as Canton or Kwangchow). It is the tallest structure in China and the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
2. The eldest tourist
Among the 23 foreigners, there was a 85-year-old tourist, Brian Hepburn. Brian Hepburn came to Guangzhou with his wife this time, said he was surprised and glad to learn he had become the first foreign passenger to visit Guangzhou. Hepburn told reporters who had waited at the airport that the transit policy was convenient, as he needed only two to three minutes to complete the paperwork.
Hepburn and his wife planed to visit Guangzhou’s Chen Clan Academy and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, cruise the Pearl River at night and experience local customs and practices.
Finally, Hepburn stated this visit was his first time to Guangzhou. He only visited Shanghai five years ago.
3. Restrictions and Punishment
1. This regulation does not apply to passengers who travel on round trip flights (e.g., Hong Kong – Beijing – Hong Kong), which means the destination and place of departure can not be the same. That is to say, only those who make transit through Beijing or Shanghai International Airport to the third country are eligible for this policy.
2. The 72-hour free stay only applies to transit via Airports. Passengers by train or any other vehicles should still apply for a transit G visa in advance.
3. For air passengers who are interested to visit Beijing/Shanghai during stopover, they should make sure put forward transit permit requests to the airlines taken in advance, so that the airlines can declare it to the airport customs before landing.
4. Visitors are not allowed to leave Beijing/Shanghai to other cities during the 72 hours. They can only depart from the Beijing/Shanghai Airport.
5. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay.
Punishment on Violators:
Visitors from said countries should strictly follow the restrictions above. Violators of Chinese law, shall be warned, fined or detained for a few days depending on the circumstances. Cases of gross violation shall be expelled from China and prohibited re-entry.
Guangzhou is following Beijing and Shanghai in introducing visa-free stays. The policy includes visitors from the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan.