After 3 years of strict Covid-19 restrictions, China’s leadership has made a suprise announcement that the country reopens for non-essential travel within two week. The announcement has been warmly received by Chinese citizens, foreign travelers and business leaders. Within 24 hours of Beijing relaxing travel restrictions, bookings for flights leaving China were up 254% while searches for popular tourist destinations such as Japan, Thailand and South Korea jumped ten fold.
Beijing’s dramatic u-turn on the Zero-Covid Policy has surprised the international community and Chinese nationals. At the Communist Party Congress in October, President Xi Jinping made it clear that the Zero-Covid strategy would continue to be strictly adhered to and that it was the only way of keeping the country safe. However, dissent, defiance and the country’s largets protests in decades pressured the communist party leadership to make a monumental u-turn. Beijing relaxed the stringent antivirus measures in December and dropped requirements such as contact tracing, quarantines and frequent PCR testing. Covid-19 will now be downgraded from a top category A infectious disease (on par with the bubonic plague and cholera) to a Class B infectious disease from January 8th.
Inbound travellers to China will, from January 8th, no longer need to undergo the lengthy and expensive quarantine requirements that have been in place for almost 3 years. This will enable Chinese citizens to travel abroad far more easily and allow foreign travelers to visit the country without these expensive inconveniences. With flights and international travel services scaled back during the Covid pandemic, it is unlikely that airlines and tour operators will be able to meet the boom in demand during the initial months of 2023. With demand outstripping supply, prices for flights are set to be very expensive during the first few months of China’s reopening.
The announcement that Chinese tourists would soon be visiting neighbouring countries, has been greeted cautiously by governments and health authorities. India and Japan have already announced that Covid-19 antigen tests will be mandatory for everyone arriving from China while other countries are expected to follow with similar regulations.
An announcement regarding tourist visas for foreign travellers to China is also expected soon. Since early 2020, it has been extremely difficult (and expensive) for any foreigner wishing to enter China. Only those with family in China or conducting business in the country could apply for travel permits. There have been no tourist visas issued for almost three years.
For travellers eager to experience the joys of travel in China the wait is almost over. China remains one of the most awe inspiring destinations in the world and it is one destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. To learn more about the best places to visit, the most delicious food to try and the most fabulous experiences you can have, be sure to check out the Domino Chinese blog.
With China’s boarders reopening, a new world of adventure awaits!