China will reopen to tourists for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic
The country will resume issuing all visas on Wednesday, prepping to improve the economy and boost tourism after a three-year hiatus
Starting Wednesday, China will open its borders to tourists again for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It will issue all visas in a effort to boost the economy and increase tourism to the country after a three-year hiatus.
Here’s what we know about the announcement.
International visitors who received visas to visit China before the March, 28, 2020, tourism halt, will still be able to use those visas to enter the country, Associated Press reported.
Some areas will resume not requiring a visa, including the island of Hainan and for cruises that stop in the Shanghai port, per NBC News.
“The announcement that China will resume issuing nearly all type of visas for foreigners from tomorrow is positive for Australian businesses whose executives would like to travel here to visit their China-based teams, customers and suppliers and to explore new business opportunities in the mainland market,” Vaughn Barber, chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in China, told NBC News.
China’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
During the pandemic, China’s government invoked a strict “zero-COVID” policy that imposed harsh restrictions on testing, quarantine and traveling requirements. In the fall, Chinese residents took the street to protest the mandates. Much of the anger stemmed from an incident when an apartment building caught on fire and multiple residents died inside because the exits were closed off due to quarantine requirements, Deseret News reported.
According to BBC, “tens of millions of international visitors came to China each year prior to the pandemic.”
Some experts have forecasted that China won’t see a large influx of visitors because of “unfavorable views” of the country, per The Guardian.
“Commercially, the wish of foreigners to run events in China also decreased after Covid, because too many things here are impacted by politics, which has scared them off,” an executive at China International Travel Services in Beijing told The Guardian, which did not disclose the executive’s name.