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China has reopened its borders to tourists after three years of COVID-19 closure

China is completely reopening its borders to international travellers, including tourists, after three years of pandemic-related restrictions.

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The Chinese Embassy in the United States announced the nation would resume granting all kinds of visas for visitors on Wednesday in a statement posted on its website on Monday in Chinese. On that date, March 28, 2020 China closed its borders to the majority of foreign tourists in an effort to keep Covid-19 out.

This month, Chinese authorities hailed a “big and decisive triumph” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic that had engulfed the nation after Beijing abruptly relaxed its “zero-Covid” policy in the latter part of last year.

The statement on Monday also comes as Beijing works to boost the domestic tourism sector and the world’s second-largest economy after a year of sluggish development made worse by pandemic preparations.

In 2022, China registered 115 million cross-border trips, far below the 2019 pre-pandemic level of 670 million. Foreigners accounted for 97.7 million of those trips in 2019 – a figure that dropped to just 4.47 million last year as Covid restrictions kept almost everyone but residents out.

According to the embassy’s statement Monday, visa-free entry will resume to the southern island of Hainan and for for cruise ships visiting Shanghai.

Tourists from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members will once again be able to enter the provinces of Guilin and Guangxi, as well as visitors entering the neighbouring Guangdong province from Hong Kong and Macao, without a visa.

Travelers to the country are still required to take a Covid test 48 hours before departure and need to fill in the results in their customs health declaration forms.


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