Overseas visitors soon will be able to enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit in Beijing to attract more tourism spending in the capital city.

The new policy has been approved by the State Council and a timetable will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. At present, Shanghai allows some overseas visitors to stay for up to 48 hours without a Visa.

In Shanghai, nearly 3,000 people enjoyed the 48-hour visa-free period in 2011, an increase of 78.5 percent from 2010.

The 48-hour policy is available to visitors from 32 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Germany, France, Hungary and Switzerland. The visa-free policy is expected to be extended to railways and ports next year.