The China National Tourism Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce have announced in Beijing that starting June 17 2008, Chinese citizens can organize tour groups to America.
Shao Qiwei, director of CNTA, will lead the first tour group visiting Washington on June 17. Shao said that according to the "Memorandum of Understanding for Facilitating Chinese Tourists' Visits to the U.S." signed between China and the U.S. on December 11, 2007, and the action plans jointly affirmed by CNTA and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Chinese tour groups to the U.S. will be organized following the grading principles of time, areas, and tourists. The first phase in implementing this action will be for six months, and the areas include Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Hubei, Hunan, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong. This is all part of an eventual full Approved Destination Status deal between the two countries.
From June 17, travel agencies in these nine provinces or cities with the qualifications to operate outbound tour business will be permitted to organize tour groups of locally registered citizens to travel to the United States.