China to enhance convenience for inbound foreign tourists during their entire visit: Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism
Published: Mar 12, 2024 01:34 AM
Sun Yeli, Minister of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism Photo: VCG

Sun Yeli, Minister of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism Photo: VCG

China vows to facilitate inbound tourism and provide more convenient services to foreign tourists in all aspects of their travel experience, including payment channels. Sun Yeli, Minister of China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, expressed this commitment during an interview after the closing meeting of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. He concluded the interview with a warm welcome to tourists worldwide, saying "Welcome to China" in English.

In response to the ministry's enhanced ideas and optimized measures in addressing the payment challenges faced by overseas tourists in China, where mobile payment is widely adopted and rapidly gaining popularity due to the country's rapid development in informatization and digitalization, Sun said the issue of payment difficulties for inbound tourists is indeed an unexpected new problem.

According to Sun, the authority has comprehensively reviewed the entire process for foreigners' inbound travel in terms of convenience, optimizing each step from visa application and flights to hotel check-ins, shopping and traveling, systematically addressing any issue at each step and resolving any problem that may arise.

Sun noted that the penetration rate of digital payments in China may be more higher than in other countries, and Chinese people are used to using a cellphone to address various daily needs, from eating and shopping to transportation. However, this has led to a reverse digital divide with overseas countries and regions, causing many foreign tourists to have difficulties in making payments while in China.

After identifying this problem, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, attached great importance to it and established a special coordination mechanism to address this issue, Sun said, noting that a circular released by the General Office of the State Council, outlining opinions on further optimizing payment services and improving payment convenience, proposed many detailed measures, which the authority is implementing.

According to Sun, since overseas tourists are still accustomed to using POS machines, which many Chinese people haven't used for a while, we are now planning to redeploy them. In some places, like Shanghai, restaurants with three stars or above have already updated their POS machines. Other places, such as airports, tourist attractions and shopping centers are all equipped with POS machines.

Besides, the authority has collaborated with payment platforms and companies to simplify procedures for foreign tourists to register with mobile payment applications, ensuring the safety of their belongings and better meeting their demands.

Meanwhile, Sun also stressed that cash cannot be rejected as a payment anywhere since it is legal tender.

With a series of policies implemented, foreign tourists can definitely enjoy the same convenience that domestic travelers experience, Sun said.

"We also sincerely welcome tourists from all over the world to visit China, explore the unique and enchanting cultural charm of ancient China, understand and discover the miracles created by the rapid and constant development of modern China, and experience the warm and friendly hospitality of the Chinese people as a nation known for its etiquette," Sun said. He concluded the interview by saying, "Welcome to China" in English.

Global Times