Transit visitors from 45 countries including Britain will be able to stay in Beijing and Shanghai for 72 hours without needing a visa, under new rules coming into effect on the first day of 2013.
It is a new policy for the Chinese capital city, although Shanghai currently has a 48-hour visa-free stay policy in place for visitors from 32 countries.
Tourism officials from both cities are hoping to encourage tourism with the more relaxed regulations.
There are 31 countries that qualify from Europe, including Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Greece and Germany. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Mexico will also benefit from the new entry policy.
The visa-free rules will be valid for arrivals at Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.
The Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines is offering tickets packaged with services including hotel reservations, car rentals and one to three-day city tours, for visa-free travellers arriving in Shanghai.
Air China is working with local tour operators in Beijing to introduce day tours for visitors to the capital.
Visitors will require an outbound plane ticket to another country scheduled for a departure within 72 hours and valid travel documents for that destination.
December 31′ 2012