Published on : Thursday, October 26, 2017
Apart from the small island nations in the Caribbean and Oceania, China has a visa-exempt agreement with Indonesia. The list also includes the North African countries of Morocco and Tunisia, and Chinese citizens can also enter Serbia and Ecuador without visas. This year, China finalised visa-exempt entry agreements with Serbia, Tunisia, and Barbados.
For smaller island nations, signing a visa-exempt agreement with China often comes with substantial incentives, not the least of which is the prospect of large numbers of Chinese tourists and tourist dollars. These visa-exempt entry agreements can be considered as part of the Chinese government’s efforts to utilize tourism as a foreign policy tool to curry influence in bilateral relations and in international organizations. Although tourism is not the primary goal these agreements, there’s no denying that these efforts help to attract a huge number of Chinese tourists. Perhaps the most notable example has been in South Korea. Chinese citizens cannot enter South Korea proper visa-free but can land on Jeju Island without a visa. The island has seen a dramatic rise in the number of Chinese tourists in recent years as well as dramatic, sometimes violent, incidents between Chinese tourists and locals.
A similar spike can be seen in Chinese tourism as well. Indonesia, particularly has been major a positive results for the visa-exempt entry agreement. Other potential beneficiaries are more traditional, high-end tropical travel experiences, including Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Jamaica, Barbados, and the Bahamas. There has been a constant rise in the Chinese outbound tourism and the demand is getting higher everyday; so these agreements might just as well help to suffice the high-income Chinese tourists’ needs.