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China's Pet Travel Industry Grows 15% In Q1 2024

The Chinese pet travel market continues to grow and diversify, with enterprise data from Tianyancha showing 4.1 million enterprises related to the pet economy in China. Among them, from January to April 2024, there were over 543,000 newly registered related enterprises. As China's birth rates fall, disposable income shifts toward more pet-centered leisure.

Chinese pet travel options available now include day trips, short trips of two to three days, long trips of about ten days, and even international trips. From bus trips to self-driving, flights and ferries, how you travel is up to you and your pet. For example, an 8-day cross-border trip from Shanghai to Bangkok and Pattaya recently released by a pet travel agency includes customs clearance procedures, air tickets, and group fees (hotel, 7 meals, photography, insurance, service fees) in three major categories. Assuming you fly economy class, the cost for two adults and one pet amounts to nearly ¥50,000 ($6,920).

China-France travel mania begins

For the Paris Olympics this year, which coincides with China's summer vacation, China's tourists are rearing to embark on their Olympic journey this summer. The head of a travel agency in Shanghai stated that visa applications for travel to France during the Olympics were almost fully booked before May 1st, and it is currently challenging to apply for visas. According to a different source from a tourism bookings platform, flight bookings from the Mainland to Paris have increased by 240% year-on-year, and hotel bookings in Paris for mainland tourists have increased by 180% year-on-year.

12-Country Chinese visa-free policy extended until end 2025

On May 7th, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian announced that, in order to further promote exchanges between Chinese and foreign personnel, China has decided to extend the visa-free policy for citizens holding ordinary passports from 12 countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg until December 31, 2025. Citizens of these countries holding ordinary passports can enter China for business, tourism, visiting relatives, and transit for up to 15 days without a visa.

Educational travel companies increased by 76% YoY in 2023

Currently, there are 35,600 educational travel companies registered in China. Looking at the stats around new registrations, enthusiasm for study tours has been building since 2018, growing from 6,360 registrations in 2018 and nearly doubling every year leading up to the pandemic. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, 971 new companies have been registered from January to April 2024.

Over 940,000 foreign tourists enter Hainan visa-free

May 1st 2024 marks the sixth anniversary of the implementation of the visa-free policy for citizens of 59 countries entering Hainan. So far, the number of foreign tourists entering Hainan visa-free has exceeded 940,000, accounting for 82% of the total number of inbound foreign tourists.

Multiple Chinese airlines open direct flight routes to Riyadh

On the evening of May 6th, local time, the maiden flight of the direct route from Beijing to Riyadh operated by Air China arrived at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh from Beijing Capital International Airport. Prior to this, Chinese airlines such as China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have successively opened direct flight routes between Beijing and Riyadh. It is understood that the Beijing-Riyadh route operated by Air China will be operated by Airbus A330 aircraft, with three round-trip flights per week and a one-way flight time of approximately 9 hours and 30 minutes.

Direct flight route from Shenzhen to Mexico City launches

China Southern Airlines has officially opened the Shenzhen-Mexico City direct flight route on May 11th. At present, this route operates twice a week, operated by Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft. This will be China Southern Airlines' first direct flight route to Latin America and the only passenger transport route directly connecting Mainland China and Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan to Mexico and Latin America.

Kazakhstan allows Alipay+ QR code payments

Recently, Kazakhstan's local e-wallet reached a cooperation agreement with Ant Group, allowing users to scan codes and consume at over 80 million Alipay merchants through Alipay+'s cross-border service. To date, users of 12 overseas mobile payment apps from 9 countries and regions can directly use their preferred mobile payment apps to scan codes for payment in China through the "Outsourcing Inside" plan provided by Ant Group.

Alibaba's business travel arm launches corporate travel AI assistant

Combining the capabilities of the A1 model and business travel products data, Alibaba Business Travel recently launched an AI travel assistant, Lü Xiao Zhu ("Travel Little Assistant"). Lü Xiao Zhu will intelligently recommend flights/hotels/trains based on customer demands, such as meeting customers' travel standards, past itineraries, and historical preferences.

Cuba announces visa exemption for Chinese citizens

On the evening of May 4th local time, at the closing ceremony of Cuba's 2024 Tourism Festival, Cuban Minister of Tourism Juan Carlos Garcia announced that Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports will be able to enter Cuba without a visa. Garcia also announced that China would be the guest of honor at the 2025 Cuba Tourism Festival, and direct flights between China and Cuba would resume on May 17th.

China-Georgia visa waiver agreement to take effect soon

China and Georgia's visa waiver is set to take effect from May 28th. According to the agreement, holders of valid Chinese ordinary passports or valid Georgian ordinary passports can enter, exit, or transit through the other contracting party without a visa, with a single stay not exceeding 30 days, and a cumulative stay not exceeding 90 days within 180 days.

Malaysia to further optimize entry procedures for Chinese tourists

On the afternoon of May 4th, local time, the Malaysian Immigration Department issued an announcement stating that it would further optimize entry procedures for Chinese tourists, including exempting the requirement to show proof of financial capability and proof of accommodation during their stay in Malaysia.

Sri Lanka to waive visa fees for citizens of seven countries including China

According to a report published by Sri Lanka's First News website on the evening of May 6th local time, the Sri Lankan Cabinet decided to continue exempting citizens of seven countries, including China, India, Russia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, from visa fees.

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