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COVID-19: China set to reopen borders to foreign tourists



ALL is set in People’s Republic of China for the resumption of visas issuance to foreign tourists, first time since COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020.

  The major easing of restrictions comes after Beijing declared victory over the virus and retreats from a zero-COVID-19 strategy that has hurt its economy.

  From 15 March, foreign offices can process applications for Chinese visas.

  Visa-free entry will also resume in Hainan Island and Shanghai for cruise ships.

  Tour groups from Hong Kong and Macau will also regain their visa-free privilege.

  In addition, valid visas issued before China closed to the world on March 28, 2020 will be honoured again.

  The removal of the last cross-border restrictions imposed to tackle COVID-19 marks a major step towards the resumption of normal life in post-pandemic China.

  Tens of millions of international visitors came to China each year prior to the pandemic, and its tourism industry has been hard hit by strict anti-COVID-19 measures.

  But the country can expect a significant increase in international arrivals, after it reopens its borders, analysts say.

  Chinese citizens will also be allowed to travel on tour groups to 60 countries, up from 20 previously.

  China said its gross domestic product grew just 3% in 2022, the worst in nearly half a century.

For the current year, Beijing has set a 5% target with new Premier Li Qiang saying that the world’s second largest economy is stabilising and picking up again.

  The zero-Covid policy that was lifted in December sparked rare protests against China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

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  He has since solidified his grip on power in the Communist Party and secured a record third term as president.

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