Chinese passport ranks 66th in world, says travel agency

Updated 2017-01-20 14:28:29 chinadaily.com.cn

Chinese citizens have the 66th most powerful passport in the world, according to a leading online travel agency.

Ctrip said China ranked 70th last year based on the global passport power rankings, which were created by calculating how many countries and regions passport holders can visit without a visa, or by obtaining a visa on arrival.

"In January last year, a Chinese mainland passport only enabled its holders to travel to 52 countries and regions without getting a visa in advance," said Fan Xuguang, a publicity manager with Ctrip.

"However, by January this year a total of 61 countries and regions had introduced favorable visa-free or visa-on-arrival polices to attract Chinese mainland tourists."

She said Arton Capital, the financial advisory firm which compiles the Passport Index rankings, hadn't updated its database but, based on her calculation, China's rank is now 66th.

"When compared with 2016, more countries are working on simplifying visa application process for Chinese mainland travelers, including introducing digital visas, reducing visa fees and shortening waiting times," Fan said.

China now ranks as the biggest outbound tourism market in the world. During the coming Spring Festival, a record 6 million Chinese mainland tourists are expected to travel overseas to celebrate the festival and according to travel agencies, a country's visa policy has a direct affect on its popularity among Chinese travelers.

Agoda, an online travel agency based in Singapore, said since Morocco introduced a visa-free policy for Chinese mainland passport holders in June, the number of Chinese visiting the country had increased 600 percent year-on-year.

In Asia, the number of Chinese mainland travelers visiting Nepal also increased by 36.41 percent last year when compared to the year before. Nepal introduced a visa-free policy for Chinese mainland travelers on Dec 25, 2015.

Ctrip's data told the same story. "The top choices of Chinese travelers are nearly the same as those which have removed visa barriers, such as Thailand," said Fan.

Tao Jia, a 30-year-old who works for a multinational in Shanghai, said a country's visa policy certainly affects her travel choices,

"Sometimes I am assigned to work outside of my routine schedule, so I cannot plan my trip and get a visa months in advance," she said.

"So my options are always limited to the visa-free destinations. Plus, I think if those countries are willing to offer visa-free entry, they will be nicer and more considerate to Chinese travelers."

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