From the Middle Kingdom to the Middle East: Six Reasons Why Chinese Travelers Are Exploring MENA: #2

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Visas are Easier to Acquire For most of modern Chinese history, much of the world was prohibitively difficult for Chinese tourists to travel to; even as recently as 2010, only 18 countries were visa-free for Chinese citizens. However, in the past several years, the Middle East has led the charge on loosening visa requirements. Egypt, the UAE, Morocco, and Tunisia have all implemented visa-free travel for one to three months for Chinese citizens, obviating the need for a time-consuming and pricey wait process. Other countries, such as Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, and Turkey all have initiated streamlined “visa on arrival” systems. Middle Eastern governments are also encouraging Chinese tourism by increasing the number of flights from China – EgyptAir now operates seven Guangzhou to Cairo flights a week – and offering more charter flights from major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu.

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