Visa restrictions on foreigners traveling into China via Hong Kong as part of a security clampdown during the Olympic Games in Beijing will be lifted in October, a major travel industry association said Monday.
Hong Kong, which is a gateway to China for foreign businessmen because of the ease of shuttling across the border on swiftly obtained visas, was inconvenienced by tightened rules amid increased security months before the Games began in August.
Foreigners from dozens of countries traveling to China from Hong Kong were barred from obtaining visas in Hong Kong, having to apply in their home countries instead. The restrictions were widely criticized by business groups as costly and cumbersome.
The issuing of popular multiple and double-entry visas was also curtailed during the Games.
"Things will resume back to normal, like before the Olympics," said Paul Leung, president of the Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association, citing discussions with Chinese tourism officials. He put the date at Oct. 16.
Leung added that a popular "144-hour" visa would again be issued in Hong Kong for groups of at least three foreigners traveling to the Chinese manufacturing heartland of Guangdong, where many businessmen run factories and offices and attend trade fairs.
"These past two months have been very quiet because a lot of visitors didn't bother coming, so now that things are opening up again it will be good for all parties concerned," Leung added.
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