Italy Cuts Down Visa Processing Time for Chinese Tourists
In an effort to further entice Chinese tourists to Italy, the Italian government announced that it will trim the visa processing time for Chinese citizens who want to travel to the European country to 36 hours.
The announcement immediately earned the praises of Chinese netizens, who said it used to take on average five days to obtain a tourist group visa to gain entry to Italy, one of the top tourist destinations for Chinese travelers.
The move will make Italy one of the many countries in the European Union that has issued visas with the shortest time to Chinese tourists, the world's biggest tourism spenders abroad.
The announcement was made by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi following a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on 11 June. Renzi is on a three-day official trip to China from 10 June to 12 June. The meeting between Li and Renzi resulted to the issuance of a three-year cooperation plan.
Several European countries, including the United Kingdom and Germany, have already introduced several measures to cut down visa processing time and ease travel rules for Chinese tourists as more than 100 million of them are expected to travel abroad this year.
Last month, a top European Commission official said the EU is moving ahead in simplifying visa rules for Chinese tourists in order to stimulate the region's economy. The proposals include a review of the current visa laws and the introduction of a touring visa.
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani said Europe has been the top destination for tourists around the world but he admitted that Chinese travelers are discouraged from applying for tourist visas because of red tape and the difficulties encountered in visa processing.
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