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China to reopen borders for the first time since 2020



China will drop Covid requirements, fully reopen borders 

China announced Wednesday that it will reopen its borders to foreign tourists for the first time in three years, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, by restoring the issuance of all types of visas.

The removal of this last cross-border control measure imposed to protect against COVID-19 comes after authorities declared victory over the virus last month.

The boost to the tourism industry should help rekindle a $17 trillion economy that experienced one of the slowest rates of growth in nearly half a century last year.

Areas in China that did not require visas prior to the pandemic will revert to visa-free entry, according to the foreign ministry on Tuesday. This will include the southern tourist island of Hainan and cruise ships passing through Shanghai port.


Visa-free entry to the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau will also be resumed.

The ministry also said foreigners holding visas issued before March 28, 2020, that are still within their validity dates will also be able to enter China.

“Resuming applications for all types of visas removes another significant barrier in the resumption of normal travel between the UK and China,” Tom Simpson, managing director of, the China-Britain Business Council, told Reuters.

“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 in particular for tourism.”

Outbound Travel
China, which withdrew its advisory to citizens against foreign travel in January, also added another 40 countries to its list for which group tours are allowed, bringing the total number of countries to 60.


Inbound and outbound international flights in the week of March 6 rose more than 350% compared with a year earlier to nearly 2,500 flights, according to the Chinese flight tracking APP Flight Master, though the number was still just 17.4% of 2019 levels.

In 2022, just 115.7 million cross-border trips were made in and out of China, with foreigners accounting for around 4.5 million.

By contrast, China logged 670 million overall trips in 2019 before the arrival of COVID, with foreigners accounting for 97.7 million.

Beijing abandoned its draconian zero-COVID policies in December and in January cancelled quarantine requirements for incoming travellers.


New Premier Li Qiang said on Monday that China took less than two months to achieve a “smooth transition” in its response to COVID-19 and that the country’s strategies and measures had been completely correct.

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