An increasing number of countries have been seeking to attract more foreign tourists in recent years by easing their visa procedures and improving airport facilities. As the spring and summer travel peak begins, let's check out the new visa waiver policies released by Albania and Russia, as well as the high-tech facial recognition system for international passengers introduced at Sydney Airport in Australia.
The Albanian government recently decided to lift the visa requirement for citizens of nine countries.
Under the new policy, the citizens of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Georgia, Qatar, Oman, Thailand and Bahrain will be able to enter Albania using only their passport.
The free visa regime for these countries will only apply for the period of the tourist season between April 1 and October 31 of this year.
Soccer fans who have tickets and have been issued a "fan ID" by the Russian government will be allowed to enter Russia without a visa and stay for the duration of the World Cup, as well as for the period beginning ten days before and ending 10 days after the championship, according to the Russian government.
Before crossing the Russian border, people with the fan ID must present an identification document and a ticket for the match or a document verifying the purchase of a ticket.
Passengers at Australia's Sydney Airport are a step closer to boarding flights without having to fumble for identification papers, following the introduction of a trail facial recognition system for international flights.
Beginning in May, the biometric processing software will first be adopted by Qantas passengers who wish to take part in the trial.
Passengers will be able to check in for their flights at home using facial-recognition technology on their smartphones. Scanners at electronic gates will then identify their faces at any of the following sites: the bag drop, border processing, security screening, the airport lounge or the boarding gate.
The cutting-edge system will mean that travelers only have to show their passport once for verification when they first arrive at the airport. It's expected to save passengers an average of four minutes and 23 seconds passing through customs.
The second terminal (T2) at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport officially started operations today.
There are a total of 26 flights departing and arriving T2 today. Flight MF8306, operated by Xiamen Airlines and destined for Xiamen, became the first flight departing from T2. An inauguration ceremony was held at 9 am to mark the special occasion.