Beijing Starts 72-Hour Visa-Free Stay Policy

Beijing recently announced a 72-hour visa-free stay for citizens from 45 countries who have outbound air tickets and visas to a third country, starting January 1, 2013. This policy will promote Beijing’s regional economy, tourism and civil aviation industry. In response to the new policy, Air China is offering more products and services that meet the needs of the transfer passengers and ensure utmost convenience to travelers going to and from Beijing.

China Visa
China Visa

This 72-hour visa-free policy applies to citizens of 45 countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Travelers do not have to apply for a visa and can take a brief tour of Beijing. Air China boasts an extensive global route network with Beijing as its hub, serving 30 countries and regions. Taking advantage of the Star Alliance network, Air China can fly passengers to 1356 destinations in 193 countries around the world. Additionally, Air China opens China up to the rest of the world. Continue Reading

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China to support Tibet to become major world travel destination

China’s top tourism authority will help the country’s Tibet Autonomous Region to become a a major world travel destination.

According to a cooperative agreement signed Wednesday between the National Tourism Administration (NTA) and the government of Tibet, the NTA will expand assistance to Tibet and help the region further open up its tourism market.

The NTA will promote the opening of direct flights to Tibet’s capital city Lhasa from the other provincial capitals in the country and some overseas cities, according to the agreement.

The NTA will also support brand-building in Tibet’s tourist industry and carry out promotional tourism campaigns.

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China reveals plan to develop Hainan into global tourism destination

The Chinese government said on Monday that it aims to build the southern island of Hainan into a top international tourism destination by 2020.

The country also plans to develop the only tropical island province to be a platform for international economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, according to a statement of the State Council, or the Cabinet, released on, the official web portal of the Chinese government.

The island will also become a base of agricultural production and a base for developing resources and services in the South China Sea, said the statement.

The government said it would maintain the healthy development of the island’s property sector and encourage developers to build premium hotels and resorts. It also supports family-run hotels and property-rental services.

Efforts should also go to the financial sector in the island by pushing forward the trial program of cross-border trade RMB settlement and backing qualified tourism firms to get listed in the stock market. Continue Reading

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New premium Ascott serviced residence is part of the iconic Raffles City Beijing development

CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), is celebrating the opening of its fifth serviced residence in Beijing, Ascott Raffles City Beijing. This marks the first time an Ascott serviced residence has partnered with a Raffles City. Raffles City is an iconic integrated lifestyle development comprising a retail mall, an office tower and a serviced residence owned by CapitaLand. The opening of the new Ascott Raffles City Beijing further strengthens Ascott’s leadership position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China.

Housed within the Raffles City complex, one of five Raffles City in China and only seven worldwide, the premium serviced residence brings something new to the Ascott experience. Besides being able to enjoy the exclusivity of living in an Ascott serviced residence, the high-end Raffles City, with its extensive services and welcoming atmosphere, also gives Ascott’s residents the convenience of working, shopping and dining under one roof.

“Ascott Raffles City Beijing is our fourth property to open in China this year, reaffirming Ascott’s commitment to grow our presence in the Mainland,” said Mr Lee Chee Koon, Managing Director of Ascott North Asia. “This is the first time we have a serviced residence located within a Raffles City development, a perfect combination to cater to our residents’ varied lifestyle needs. Continue Reading

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Heritage city in north China a paradise for world’s photographers

An old man with a leather apron is riding a bike, on the back of which stand two poles,. From each pole hangs a bag full of trash.

Click. Ali Paczensky from Germany agency Fotofinder GmbH records the moment with his camera. He looks at the picture on the screen with a smile and says, “That’s funny.”

The art of photography is reaching every corner of the 2,700-year-old fortified city of Pingyao, as keen amateur and professional practitioners take pictures, appreciate art and chat with each other during 2009 Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP).

pingyao china“I’ve never seen a photo festival on this scale before, like the whole city is devoted. It’s phenomenal,” said James Hill from Australia.

“It’s exciting because you don’t know who’s going to see your work because there’s such a great variety of people,” said James’ girlfriend Alexia Sinclair, who had just finished installing her exhibition ??the Regal Twelve — which will also be showcased in Paris next week.

Gan Jingwen from Beijing was hurrying with her Canadian husband Richard to a seminar held by a famous photographer. The couple has visited PIP every year since 2001 when the first festival was held.

“In the festival, we feel the art of photography is very close and tangible to us amateurs as the festival is open to everyone,” said Gan, “and we cherish the opportunity to learn from experts and the seminars are particularly inspiring.” Continue Reading

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Value-Priced Visits To China, The Philippines Offer Surprising Luxury Within Modest Budget

With international travel at its lowest point in seven years, prospective travelers are oft surprised to learn that hip travel agencies are recommending this recessionary period as the best time for long-haul travel to Asia.

With countries such as China and the Philippines leading the pack, these once-in-a-lifetime journeys are becoming extremely value oriented in order to compete with short-haul destinations for North American visitors.

“While airfare to Asia is still generally expensive due to fuel costs, one can save quite a bit when purchasing in conjunction with a full vacation package as there is greater room for discounting with hotels and land activities,” said Evan Chan, Managing Director for Los Angeles-based Ritz Tours, which offers air-inclusive packages to China starting at $1,251 per person, including fuel surcharges and travel protection.

great wall of chinaFirst time visitors may want to opt for the Ritz Tours’ China Special, incorporating Beijing (pictured right) and Shanghai from $1,479 per person with air and travel protection.

For a unique treat for second time visitors, Ritz Tours offers a six-night Yunnan program to scenic Southeastern China – including mystical Jade Dragon Mountain and the Stone Forest of Kunming – from $1,432 with air and travel protection.

Ritz Tours also offers affordably priced packages to most of Asia, including Thailand, which is currently available from $1,043 per person, “roughly the cost of airfare alone if booked separately,” noted Chan.

Victoria Cruises  ;, the pre-eminent cruise line with the largest fleet of five-star vessels on China’s Yangtze River, has announced a 30% discount on 2009 sailings across the board for direct bookings on cruises through Aug 31. Continue Reading

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Mainland China tourists to Taiwan expected to reach 600,000

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan expected cross-Strait tourism to attract at least 600,000 mainland tourists this year, Monday’s China Daily reported.

The ambitious target comes one year after the island was opened up to mainland tourists.

About 383,300 mainland tourists visited the island in the past year, according to the Cross-Straits Tourism Association (CSTA) in Beijing.

Both sides want to grow the figure to at least 600,000 this year.

taiwan beachDuring a round table conference in Beijing on Saturday, CSTA President Shao Qiwei and Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) Chairwoman Janice Lai declared the past year’s achievement “a good start”.

TSTA statistics suggested that 85 percent of mainland tourists were satisfied with their trips to Taiwan.

Fewer than 10 percent were not satisfied with the tight schedules and long hours on the road.

In the peak season of March and April, mainland tourists flock to the same scenic spots and restaurants at the same time, resulting in lower service standards. Continue Reading

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Millennium & Copthorne Hotel in Wuxi, China to open soon

Millennium & Copthorne has opened its latest hotel in China, the Millennium Wuxi hotel in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Eastern China.

The hotel is located within the exclusive residential enclave of Court of Eastern Peace development, in the heart of the Wuxi New Development District. It is across from the Kodak factory and counts as its neighbours the manufacturing facilities of Bosch, Panasonic and Toshiba.

M&C currently owns or operates four other hotels in China, namely the Grand Millennium Beijing, Millennium Hongqiao Shanghai, Millennium Harbourview Hotel Xiamen, and Copthorne Hotel Qingdao.

The company is also scheduled to open another hotel, the newly-built Millennium Chengdu, later this year. Continue Reading

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Shanghai Airlines opens air route to Hanoi

Shanghai Airlines announced on Monday that it will open a direct service from Shanghai to Hanoi as of next month.

This will be Shanghai Airlines’ second destination in Vietnam following Ho Chi Minh City.

The airline said its Boeing 727-800 airplane will offer three flights a week on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from Shanghai beginning March 27. Flights from Hanoi will be available on Monday.

Wednesday and Saturday is the only direct air service so far between the two cities.

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Tibet canyon tourist arrival increases

The grand canyon in southern Tibet Autonomous Region is becoming a popular new attraction since opening up to tourists for the first time in mid-July.

So far, more than 30,000 tourists have visited the Yarlung Zangbo River Grand Canyon, said a source from Tibet Travels Co. Ltd..

The Yarlung Zangbo River is the highest major river in the world. It runs through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

Tibet Canyon

Tibet Canyon

The grand canyon, discovered in 1994 in the Himalayas, was formed by a horse-shoe bend in the river where it flows around Mount Namjag Barwa.

The Yarlung Zanbo canyon averages 5,000 meters in depth. The average width at the bottom of the canyon is 80- 200 meters while the narrowest part is only 74 meters.

It is considered the deepest in the world, followed by the grand canyon in Colorado and Colia grand canyon in Peru.

The canyon provides passage for moist, warm air from India which allows green tropical forests to grow inside it. The climate also provides a good habitat for animals such as tigers, monkeys, snakes, antelopes and wild boars.

The canyon also attracts whitewater kayakers. Continue Reading

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Discover the Beauty of Asia with Expedia & get up to 40% off

Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic day of the year for many couples. After all it is one of the most important holidays of the year. A perfect opportunity to sweep your Valentine off her feet is to plan a romantic getaway in Asia and the key to this perfect romantic break is to plan your Valentines Day Vacation in advance. TM, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, brings to you some of Asia’s most dreamy destinations to enjoy with your loved one.

Experience the beauty of ancient China, discover the treasures of Indonesia or get wowed by the wonders of Philippines. With savings up to 40%; discover Asia at affordable prices to fit perfectly well into any couples budget!

Boracay Sunset
Sunset in Boracay Island Philippines

“Valentine’s Day gives couples enough reason to travel. What better way of surprising your partner than spending this year’s Valentine’s Day with your beloved one at the romantic destination of her choice. With the internet, it is now easier and quicker than ever to search for the best deals and book your Valentine’s favourite destination. Continue Reading

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China’s hotel, catering retail sales up 24.3% in the first seven months

China’s hotel and catering industry saw its retail sales rose 24.3 percent in the first seven months over the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Friday.

The growth rate was 6.5 percentage points higher than the same period last year, said the MOC on its website.

Retail sales of the country’s hotel and catering industry amounted to 837.49 billion yuan (about 120 billion U.S. dollars) between January and July, accounting for 14 percent of the nation’s total domestic retail sales during the same period. Continue Reading

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