(eTN) – The People’s Republic of China got the message of a friend with all and enemies with none. The People’s Republic eliminated visas for tourists from this small country and is sending their high-spending tourists in rapid and increasing numbers in return.
Most visitors – like Americans, Europeans, South Africans, or Australians – to China have to go through lengthy and expensive visa applications. It’s a mutually difficult process, taking the joy out of tourism both ways.
Effective June 26, Seychellois citizens, who want to visit China, including Hong Kong, where Air Seychelles flies to three times a week, may enter China on a 30-day visitor pass, at no cost, and with no hassles on arrival.
The deal was signed earlier in the year and makes the Seychelles the first and presently only African country to have such an arrangement in place.
The Seychelles has for long opened the doors of the archipelago to visitors from abroad without the need for any visa, for any nationality for that matter, a factor which has significantly contributed to sharply-rising visitor numbers from China, up 67 percent this year compared to 2012 already, or from countries of the former Soviet bloc, India, and in fact from across Africa, too.
All that is required to enter the archipelago is a return ticket, a confirmed hotel booking, and sufficient funds for upkeep, or in the case of visitors from Africa a Yellow Fever innoculation certificate when coming from areas of prevalence.
While most countries go by the often-outdated method of reciprocity, and use visa fees payable on arrival or in advance of travel as a source of supplementing their national budget, they in fact make travel to their countries difficult, often keeping visitors away, who opt understandably for places to visit where less stringent rules apply.
Perhaps it is time, in view of this development, for other countries to re-examine their own visa policies, especially those countries hustling for more visitors while slapping them with an entry fee on arrival. Seychelles, truly is Another World.
Happy 4th of July America, and Happy Independence Day Seychelles!