Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Eight more mainland Chinese cities are joining the Individual Travel scheme

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The national government has added a further eight cities – all provincial capitals – to the facilitated individual travel (FIT) scheme, taking effect on 27 May. Their inclusion will bring to 53 the total number of cities whose eligible residents can visit Macao and Hong Kong independently.

The new cities are Taiyuan in Shanxi Province; Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Harbin in Heilongjiang Province; Lhasa in the Xizang Autonomous Region (Tibet); Lanzhou in Gansu Province; Xining in Qinghai Province; Yinchuan in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region; and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng has welcomed the additions to the scheme, which significantly increase the pool of potential visitors to the SAR. 

[See more: The MGTO is opposed to a tourist quota for Macao]

A statement from the Government Information Bureau (known by its Portuguese initials GCS) said the move “would undoubtedly mean stronger economic benefits for Macao’s retail and tourism industries.”

GCS’ statement noted that the government and relevant industries were currently “making full preparations” for the arrival of more individual travellers from the mainland. Their preparations include organising more leisure events, optimising immigration procedures, and improving transportation in the city.

The FIT scheme was launched in 2003 and currently allows eligible visitors to spend up to seven days in the SARs every three months. The last cities to join were Xi’an and Qingdao, home to more than 13 and 10 million people respectively.

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