Australians flying to Shanghai can stay there visa-free for a stopover of up to 72 hours (three full days) provided they are on the way to another destination, rather than flying straight back home.
Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou now offer that dispensation to Aussie travellers.
The Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration (SMTA) hosted a travel industry workshop in Sydney yesterday and gave latest details of the city’s attractions. Senior officials from SMTA and the Government of New South Wales attended, as did Helen Wong, whose World Trade Travel is SMTA’s major partner in Australia.
SMTA delegates said that more than 168,000 Australians visited Shanghai in 2014 with early signs of a further steady growth this year. In the other direction, visits to Australia from Shanghai rose by 7.78% to 61,000 in 2014.
SMTA’s vice chairman, Connie Cheng, said that over the past few years, tourism co-operation between China and Australia had run smoothly, marked by positive growth and two-way traffic.
New South Wales Minister for Innovation, Victor Dominello said he had visited Shanghai two or three times and loved the city.
“If you want to see what a city of the future looks like today, go to Shanghai tomorrow,” Dominello told his audience.
Cheng said Australia and Shanghai were “natural partners blessed with different attributes and features.
“To many Shanghai citizens, breathtaking nature here in Australia holds powerful appeal for those who are going out especially while China is experiencing winter,” she said.
“It’s the same the other way around. Shanghai with its blended culture has become an increasingly attractive destination to Australian friends.
“Depending on the season, there’re 15 to 18 flights per week from Sydney to Shanghai, 4 to 5 flights from Melbourne to Shanghai.
“In addition, visitors with Australian passports don’t need a visa if they transiting through Shanghai International Airports and can stay in Shanghai for less than 72 hours. And just since late last month, overseas tourists to Shanghai can obtain tax refunds on their purchases.”
The team of Shanghai tourism delegates is visiting Australia for the Travel Industry Exhibition at Luna Park, Sydney, 16-17 July.
Section chief of the International Tourism Promotion Department, Maria Chao, presented an animated tour of new attractions and highlighted growing tourism opportunities in the Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region.
The team’s visit marked the expansion of collaboration between Australia and Shanghai, aiming to establish a “new habit” of travel to Asia.
With a population of more than 24 million, Shanghai is one of the largest and most developed cities in mainland China and sits at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta region.
At the end of 2014, 94 airlines (27 domestic and 67 international and regional airlines) were connecting Shanghai with 256 cities (142 domestic, 114 international and regional).
They include 15 to 18 flights per week from Sydney to Shanghai and four to five flights from Melbourne to Shanghai, operated by Air China, China Eastern or Qantas, depending on season.
New Shanghai attractions
Shanghai is set to further boost its appeal with the opening of six major hotels in late 2015 and early 2016.
These openings will add almost 3000 guest rooms to the giant Chinese city’s already impressive list which included the recent partial opening of Shanghai Tower.
In readiness for opening this year are two Disneyland Theme Hotels, boosting numbers of rooms and suites by 1220.
Over the following six months in 2016, Shanghai will see the opening of:
- Le Meridien Shanghai, Jiading – 270 rooms and suites, to open on 1 January 2016
- W Hotel – The Bund: to open on January 28, 2016 – 600 rooms & suites
- Bvlgari Hotel to open in 2016 – 120 rooms and suites, located at OCT Suhe Creek
- InterContinental Shimao Shanghai Wonderland in Songjiang – 380 rooms scheduled to open in middle 2016.
To enjoy a 360-degree view of Shanghai, visitors now can ride the world’s fastest lift with a maximum speed of 18 metres per second to the observation decks of Shanghai Tower. Its 632-metre height reshapes the skyline of Shanghai and houses nine vertical zones and 21 sky lobbies with a floor area of 576,000 square metres.
Shanghai Disney Resort will open soon, showcasing dozens of all-new attractions and entertainment offerings. It will be the first Disneyland in mainland China.
Shanghai is a great choice for MICE events with a wide variety of exhibition and events venues. The latest one, National Exhibition and Convention Centre (Shanghai), is the world’s largest single block building and exhibition complex with a total construction area of 1.47 million square metres.
Tax refund policy for overseas tourists. Visitors from Australia staying in the Chinese mainland for no more than 183 days can receive a rebate of 11% on consumer goods purchased at designated department stores. The designated stores do sell international brands as well as local specialties.
SMTA can work with Australian and New Zealand travel trade companies to design special familiarisation trips to help agents and consultants understand and experience Shanghai and China.
World Trade Travel, headed by Helen Wong, is SMTA’s major Partner in Australia and is, of course, fully familiar with China as a destination.
Written by Peter Needham