Tourist groups arriving in Shanghai via cruises will be granted 15 days of visa-free stay from October 1, 2016 local immigration inspection authorities announced on Friday.

Cruise passengers must belong to tourist groups organized by travel agencies that are legally registered in China, said the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection.


Travel agencies have to submit the name lists of foreign tourist groups to inspection authorities 24 hours before the cruise ships arrive.

Expats from cruise ships are only allowed to stay in Shanghai or travel to Beijing and coastal provinces where cruise ships berth.

The cruising industry has been developing fast in Shanghai. More than 1.6 million cruise ship passengers entered China via Shanghai ports last year, up 35.5 percent from 2014. But of these in 2015, only 69,000 were foreigners.

The new policy is expected to encourage cruise companies to bring more passenger liners to China and give foreign tourist groups more choice of travel, attracting more expats to take cruise trips to Shanghai.