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Germany holds tourism event in China

By Xu Lin ( chinadaily.com.cn ) Updated: 2014-11-24 16:41:16

The 2014 Germany Promotion Tour was held recently in Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, with 22 German tourism agencies, hotels and shopping centers participating. Dusseldorf Marketing and Tourist Board, Lufthansa Group, Berlin Travel Agency and Global Blue Germany GmbH were among those who took part in the tour.

Officials of the Germany embassy in Beijing and the German National Tourist Board talked about the latest Schengen application policy of the Germany government and that country's tourism promotion plan.

Germany runs five visa application centers in China — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenyang, and plans to open six more across major Chinese cities to facilitate application procedures for Schengen visas.

Starting from May 2015, all Schengen states visa offices in China will use the collective Visa Information System, a central database for the exchange of data on short-stay visas between authorities of the Schengen States.

It helps streamline visa application procedures and checks at external borders of the Schengen area. Applicants will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) while applying for a such a visa. According to officials of the Germany embassy in Beijing, the recourse to biometric technology will increase visa applicants' protection against identity theft and prevent false identifications.

Biometric technology is used commonly in the European Union and worldwide to make travel documents more secure. The embassy says initiatives will continue to be taken to make the delivery of visas for traveling to the Schengen area easier and quicker. The top four European destinations for Chinese traveling overseas are Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland.

Chinese visitors are mostly drawn to Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne, among German cities, according to the German National Tourist Board.

Asia is the second-largest market for Germany's tourism industry besides Europe, with a market share of 11 percent in 2013, and a steadily rising number.

Next year, Germany will theme its tourism promotional programs on traditions and customs in a bid to introduce arts, lifestyle, cuisine and culture to tourists.

Li Zhaohui, director of the tourist board's Beijing office, said that Chinese tourists like pretty sceneries in cities, leisure, scenic spots, delicious cuisine and various museums in Germany.

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