Beijing makes efforts to revive the world’s second-largest economy and its domestic tourist industry. After a three-year pause during the pandemic, China will reopen its borders to tourists and resume issuing all visas Wednesday. Visa-free entry also will resume at destinations such as Hainan island. Visa-free entry for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau to China’s most prosperous province, Guangdong, will also resume. Travelers to the country are still required to take a Covid test 48 hours before departure. Beijing started taking applications for passports from its citizens on January 8. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters Tuesday that China had “optimized measures for remote testing of people coming to China from relevant countries,” allowing pre-boarding antigen testing instead of nucleic acid testing.
Chinese authorities declared victory over the virus last month. Before the pandemic, China was the world’s largest market for outbound travel. According to the UN’s World Tourism Organization, China had 65.7 million international travelers in 2019, before the pandemic. This year’s number of international flights will be 50 to 60 per cent of the level seen just before the pandemic. China’s new Premier Li Qiang called for more effort to meet a 5 per cent growth target of economy for the year.