PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
China will reopen its borders to foreign tourists for the first time in three years since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic after authorities declared victory over the virus.
They will restore the issuance of all types of visas starting from Wednesday (March 15).
In 2022, China suffered one of the slowest rates of growth in its economy in nearly half a century.
This year, it sets to boost the tourism sector, rekindling a $17 trillion (about Dh62 trillion) economy.
On Tuesday (March 14), the foreign ministry announced that areas of China that did not require a visa before the pandemic would revert to visa-free entry places, including the southern tourist island of Hainan and cruise ships passing through Shanghai port.
Visa-free entry to Guangdong, China’s southern manufacturing hub, would also be reinstated for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau.
According to the ministry, foreigners with visas issued before March 28, 2020, that are still valid would also be able to enter China.
Tom Simpson, Managing Director of the China-Britain Business Council, told Reuters that resuming applications for all types of visas removes another significant barrier to the resumption of normal travel between China and the UK.
“The [council] has already seen business travel applications and arrivals begin to increase since January; however, this news should lead to a significant increase in visits for tourism,” Simpson said.
With the resumption of tourism, China added 40 new countries to its list, bringing the total to 60 countries where group tours are permitted.
New Premier Li Qiang said on Monday (March 13) that China took less than two months to respond to Covid-19 in a “smooth transition,” and the country’s strategies and measures were accurate.
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