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China’s Surging Popularity

The United States and China recently agreed to a reciprocal 10-year term for visas for visitors from one country to the other. Until that agreement, visitors were required to reapply for a travel visa to either country after one year. Though China has been slow to fully implement the new term, it is expected to do so in the coming months.

“The new 10-year visa agreement between China and the United States is a big step forward for return visitors to China,” said Wendy Wu’s Mark Grundy. “Many people come to China thinking they’ll come one time, only to find there is so much more to be seen. This allows those people to return a second or third time within 10 years without going through the visa process. That’s a $160 savings each time, not to mention the amount of time saved on doing the paperwork.”

What are those repeat visitors choosing to see and do in China?

“From America, we see most repeat visitors choosing a Yangtze River Cruise or maybe a trip that includes Chengdu, where China’s Panda Reserve is,” said Grundy.

“A couple of other regions that draw second-time visitors are Guilin, one of China’s scenic mountain regions that includes the Li River. That’s where the fishermen use cormorants [native birds] to help them catch fish in the river. And we have people who choose Tibet for its exotic appeal.”

“There are two elements of travel to China that work in travelers’ favor currently,” he said. “The currency exchange between the two countries is very stable — it doesn’t fluctuate wildly. And airfares are very stable as well. Airfares haven’t been rising to China the way they have been to Europe.”

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.