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BEIJING, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Travelers from 45 countries can now benefit from a 72-hour visa-free stay policy in Beijing and Shanghai, a move that could attract more transit visitors.

On Tuesday morning, a Chinese Australian surnamed Zhou became the first visitor to benefit from the policy after he arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Zhou knew about the policy when he booked his flight tickets. He decided to stay in Beijing for two days before flying to Rome, Italy.

Tourists holding third country visas and plane tickets can now apply for a transit without visa at Beijing's international airport. Foreign visitors are not permitted to leave Beijing to other Chinese cities during the 72 hours, and have to depart from the capital city.

The 45 countries were listed in accordance with the numbers of inbound overnight visitors in Beijing from 2009 to 2011.

The same policy also took effect in Shanghai where visitors can submit applications at Pudong and Hongqiao airports.


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