China called “necessary steps” to open borders for international tourists, including Russians. So far, however, although China has lifted quarantine requirements for all arrivals from abroad since January 8, it has not yet rolled out a red carpet for foreign tourists wishing to come to China. As reported by CNN, the borders remain largely closed to foreigners except for business or family visits, although the government has signaled that it is looking to ease restrictions in this area as well.
However, the opening steps have already been announced. For now, the government said it plans to focus on facilitating visa applications for foreign nationals traveling to China for business, work, study, family visits and meetings. As George Cao, CEO of Dragon Trail International, a marketing and research company focused on China, told the agency, before the country reopens to tourists after the lifting of quarantine, two steps are needed is the resumption of issuance of visas for the purpose of tourism, but for now, according to him “While this is part of the announced reopening plan, we don't have an official date yet.” The second step is to increase the number of international flights, which will facilitate access to China, as well as reduce the prices of flights, which are still well above pre-pandemic levels. “This has already begun for some destinations – for example, many flights between China and South Korea, as well as between China and Singapore, have already been resumed,” the expert noted. But how fast the process will be for other directions is not yet clear.
With regard to measures for those entering, from January 8, quarantine is no longer required. Prior to this date, arriving travelers were subject to a five-day quarantine at the hotel and three days of self-isolation at home upon arrival. However, tourists will need a PCR test no older than 48 hours, and they must complete the results on their customs health declarations. Mostly in China, while waiting for local residents, “stuck” abroad – experts add.
At the same time, outbound tourism, apparently, opens. Since January 8, international travel for leisure purposes has been allowed again. And at the end of December, the National Immigration Administration issued a notice resuming the acceptance and approval of Chinese citizens' applications for tourism passports starting January 8. The Chinese responded to this with a booming increase in requests. Russia was not among the leaders – in the top ten countries with the most astronomical growth in requests – formally Chinese Macau and Hong Kong, as well as Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the USA and the UK.
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