Wei Gu
Wei Gu

The agreement between China and the US to issue 10-year visa might have been a first watershed moment, other countries are following suit. WSJ wealth editor Wei Gu discovered soon for a New Zealand visa, showing your platina UnionCard opens doors.

Wei Gu:

Countries around the world have been streamlining visa processes for Chinese travelers, who have made 98 million trips so far this year. They are also big spenders, splurging the most on tax-free shopping last year and accounting for 27% of global tax-free travel spending, according to Global Blue, which processes tax refunds.

Chinese travelers have already begun to discover the allure of New Zealand, accounting for the second-most number of tourists there, after Australia. Average spending by Chinese visitors to New Zealand is higher than any other groups of tourists, according to China Unionpay.

New Zealand topped a list of 22 nations as Chinese tourists’ most satisfying destination in the first quarter of 2014, according to China Tourism Academy, a research center under China’s Tourism Bureau. The poll measures travelers’ satisfaction with public services, environmental conditions and security. New Zealand’s fresh air and stunning scenery can provide a bit of a reprieve for those living in heavily polluted Chinese cities.

But the influx of Chinese tourists—and property buyers—has also led to a backlash in New Zealand. Mr. Peters, leader of conservative political party New Zealand First,argues that the credit-card policy essentially allows Chinese to buy their way into the country by skirting key criteria.

However, Kevin Bowler, chief executive for government agency Tourism New Zealand, said any effort to streamline the visa process for international visitors are good for the tourism industry.

More in the Wall Street Journal.

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