China reopens the door to tourism three years after the start of the pandemic

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China reopens the door to tourism three years after the start of the pandemic

Chinaand the rest of the world have recovered the pre-pandemic connection. As of this Wednesday and after almost three years, the Chinese embassies issue all kinds of visas, including tourist ones. The restrictions on foreigners were the last vestige of a zero covid policywhich was dynamited at the end of last December and which marked a parenthesis in the four decades of Chinese opening to the world.

Beijing has also approved the possibility of recovering the validity of visas issued before March 28, 2020, the date on which China ordered the visa to be issued. the lock to protect yourself from the coronavirus, as long as they have not expired. Likewise, the visa waiver returns to tourists from Hong Kong, Macauand some countries in Southeast Asia. Nor will they be required for those arriving on Hainan Island or on cruise ships passing through Shanghai. The regulations, maintains the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “ the exchanges between the Chinese and foreign populations”

Close to pre-pandemic normality

Travels to Chinathey have been maddening torture for years. The few visas that were issued for highly valued reasons were followed by the few and very expensive flights very often cancelled, innumerable tests medical calls and very long quarantines at the traveler's expense. The retirement of the covid zero policy, in mid-December, reduced these requirements to negative PCR test resultIt will be carried out in the two days prior to the flight in an approved clinic or hospital.

Ministerial spokesman Wang Wenbin clarified the situation. Tuesday that from now on it will suffice. with an antigen test, which only costs a couple of euros, is done at home and the result is known immediately. “We have optimized the measures for remote testingof those arriving in China from relevant countries (…) The risk of epidemics is, in general, controllable,” Wang.

China undertook an investigation. It made a timid reopening in the second half of last year. In August he came back. to issue student visas, one of the hardest hit groups. Many of them had heard the news about a rare pneumonia while enjoying Christmas in their countries and could not return for more than two years.

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Reopening to international tourism

The collapse of the last embankments for foreigners comes a month after China declared victory over the coronavirus. Last year, 115 million cross-border trips in China were countedand less than five corresponded to foreigners. In contrast, the figures for 2019 are 670 million trips, of which almost a hundred are foreigners. However, the sector has resisted better than other tourist destinations -such as Spain or Thailand– thanks to the internal clientele, a market of 1,400 million people, forced to domestic tourism due to quarantines upon return from abroad.

China suffered from this. a painful voluntary confinement during Maoism. The opening ordered by Deng Xiaoping, architect of the reforms, pushed the growth of the reforms. China is moving towards globalization. Millions of students and tourists, national and foreign, entered and left the country each year. But the coronavirus interrupted the process. an exchange that did both China and the world good. The measures that come into force this Wednesday return to normality.