Travel Gossip: China Grants New Zealand Visa-Free Travel

By Billy Jiang, June 14, 2024

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In a significant diplomatic development, Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced that New Zealanders will be granted visa-free travel to China. 

The announcement came during Li's three-day visit to New Zealand, where he focused on strengthening trade and bilateral ties, before he continues his diplomatic mission to Australia.

Premier Li, China's second-highest-ranking official, arrived in Wellington on Thursday, June 13, and met with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Luxon. 

Li emphasized the enduring friendship between the two nations by quoting Chinese poetry:

"Good friends feel close to each other even when they are far apart."

Li then announced that China will include New Zealand in its list of unilateral visa-free countries, a move that is expected to significantly boost tourism and economic exchanges. 

Following the announcement, online travel agency reported a 65% surge in searches for China-related keywords by New Zealand tourists within 30 minutes.

The number of flights between China and New Zealand now exceeds the levels of the same period in 2019, with many airlines launching or resuming direct routes between Chinese cities and Auckland. 

This rise in flights is expected to further stimulate tourism potential between the two nations.

The bilateral talks also touched on China's readiness to offer infrastructure funding to New Zealand, underscoring the deepening economic ties. 

Next Monday, June 17, Li will hold talks in Canberra with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. 

Li has previously secured unilateral visa-free travel agreements with several European countries during his recent visits, yet it remains to be seen whether Australia will also be granted visa-free access to China.

READ MORE: Travel Gossip: China Extends Visa-Free Travel to Ireland

Since December 2023, China has introduced a series of visa-free policies for several European countries, attracting tourists from Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, and addressing various barriers for foreigners visiting China. 

These strategic policy moves continue to make traveling to China more accessible.

READ MORE: Here's How to Travel to China Visa-Free...

China's visa-free policy is seen as a new form of 'Panda Diplomacy,' extending an olive branch to countries with strong ties to China, facilitating easier cultural, scientific, and economic exchanges.

READ MORE: This Day in History: China Launches Panda Diplomacy with US

Will this 'Visa-Free Travel Diplomacy' create new opportunities for China? Please share your thoughts with us.

For more updates on China's travel and visa policies, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image by Billy Jiang/That's]

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