Chinese travelers' visa good for a year
The United States and China have relaxed their visa requirements to facilitate travel between the two countries, but the move falls short of opening the door for Chinese group leisure travel to U.S. destinations.
Beginning Saturday, the United States and China will offer business and pleasure visas that are valid for 12 months and for multiple trips. Previously visas were valid for only six months and one trip. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said each country may, on a case-by-case basis, "limit the period of validity and number of entries as required by law and regulation."
Gov. Linda Lingle's tourism liaison, Marsha Wienert, called the change a "step in the right direction, especially when business development and tourism development with China is concerned."
Wienert said that while it is not the same as an approved destination status, which would open the United States to greater numbers of Chinese travelers, it will make travel between the two countries more convenient. Chinese citizens can travel to countries not on the approved list, but not formally as tourists.
"It's probably not going to have a significant effect short term, in the next six months (on Hawai'i's tourism industry) but I think it will have a longer term effect for us, especially where business travel is concerned," she said.