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September 2, 2011

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Longer visa-free stays?

A 48-hour policy to allow travelers on layovers in Shanghai between international flights may be improved and may spread to nearby cities, local government officials said yesterday.

Shanghai Tourism Administration officials said they are applying to the central government to approve the new policy to extend the allowed visa-free stay in Shanghai from 48 hours to a longer period of time.

They are also appealing to the state authority to include other cities in the Yangtze River Delta Region to boost tourism and make the area more attractive to foreign travelers.

Shanghai now allows citizens from 40-plus countries to land at either of the city's airports without an entry visa. They can stay in Shanghai for up to 48 hours before flying out of the country again.

In other big cities, the same policy is restricted to 24 hours, immigration police officers said.

But even 48 hours may not be enough for some travelers who would like to visit more places in town or go to nearby tourism cities, said local tourism authorities.

"Integration of traffic connections in the Yangtze River Delta Region is improving quickly. In near future, it will take less than three hours to travel between any two cities in the area," said Dao Shuming, the tourism administration director.

Details of the proposal have not been announced, including how long the non-visa stay would be extended or names of the foreign countries that could participate.


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