GUANGZHOU, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- South China's mega-city Guangzhou started offering international transit passengers 72-hour stays on Thursday.
Guangzhou is the third Chinese city to introduce the visa-free policy, following capital Beijing and commercial hub Shanghai.
An 85-year-old man from New Zealand, who gave his surname as Hepburn, and his wife were the first to enjoy the new policy as they arrived at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport at 5:50 a.m..
"We got to know about the visa-free policy from the Internet half a month ago," said Hepburn. "We wanted to take the chance for a visit."
Xiao Shuanggui, a local travel agency manager who received the Hepburns, said his agency had received orders from 30 international tourists in the past month.
The visa-free policy should bring 20 percent more customers to his travel agency, said Xiao.
The visa-free scheme covers travelers from 45 countries, including France, Germany, the United States and Japan.
Under the plan, transit travelers are allowed to freely visit Guangdong Province, where Guangzhou City is located.
The visa-free scheme is expected to bring five billion yuan (809 million U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue for the province, according to insiders' calculations.