China closed its border three years ago for foreign tourists after the announcement of the global pandemic. The restrictions on foreign travel were temporary but were continued for three years.
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Last month, Chinese authorities declared victory over the virus after taking steps to bring normalcy to the country.
On Tuesday, China declared the ease of the restrictions on foreign tourists. The Chinese embassy has resumed issuing visas. In January, the Chinese government only resumed business visas.
The process and application for visa approval start from 15th march onwards. Mostly all the older provisions are re-started.
On 13th March, the Chinese education ministry and the national health commission (NHC) also issued a notice for the removal of the mandatory wearing of masks from schools, colleges, and universities.
Provisions in the Visa issue
The Chinese embassies will now start approving all types of visas which were restricted.
The older privileges and visa-free services will be restarted like Hainan Island and Shanghai visa-free services for cruise ships.
Secondly, Hong Kong and Macau tour groups will regain their visa-free service too. the visas issued before 28 march 2022 will be applicable again. Therefore, It is relief for people with older visas.
The tour groups from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states will be given visas to visit the provinces of Guilin and Guangxi
The restrictions are also removed on Chinese citizens to travel to up to 50 foreign countries. Due to the policy, Chinese citizens were only allowed to travel to 20 countries.
The covid test before 48 hours of arrival is mandatory and needed to be filled in the health declaration form.
China is slowly coming back on track. This has been the last step to remove all the Covid restrictions. The experts said that it would take some time to resume the process.
Xi Jinping Zero Covid Policy
The cross-border restrictions were applied to stop the transfer of the Covid virus. China adopted a strict strategy for cutting down the covid cases.
The Zero covid policy was implemented to keep the covid cases close to zero in 2019. Since then, the Chinese government kept the policy intact. People have been isolated from the outside world completely.
The tourism industry completely came to halt over the last three years. this created a huge financial loss for the country specifically the tourism industry.
The policy also backfired disastrously. There were protests in the country to remove the lockdown and Zero Covid policy. The huge backlash against Xin Jinping led to concerns over the upcoming presidency for the elections.
The policy had a huge impact on the economy and livelihoods of the people.
In December 2022, The Zero Covid policy was removed by the Chinese authorities which again led to chaos in the country. Increase in the cases, waiting for the Covid tests, Failure of the vaccine etc. the medical system was put under stress. There was a failure to deal with the removal of the policy.
The figures of cross border trips have faced a huge decrease. In 2019, the number of foreign tourists was 97.7 million. This came down to 4.47 million in 2022.
According to various experts, the removal of travel restrictions will improve the travel industry. It hopes for a boost in the other sectors too.
The Chinese economy is going through economic stagnation too.
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