China to reopen borders to foreign tourists for first time in three years

China is to resume issuing visas to foreign tourists for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic, the Chinese government has announced.

China’s embassy in the US said all categories of visas for tourists entering the country will be issued from Wednesday, March 15 as the country reopens its borders for the for the first time in three years.

Wendy Wu, founder of Wendy Wu Tours, said: “As it stands, we are very confident that, following the news that US travellers will be able to obtain tourist visas from March 15, the news from China for UK travellers is imminent.”

Wu added: “As the UK’s number one specialist travel company to China from the UK, Australia and New Zealand, we will be the first to know and will advise agents immediately.”

The easing of this final cross-border control measure, imposed to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, comes after its authorities last month declared victory over the virus.

Areas in China that required no visas prior to the pandemic will revert to visa-free entry, the ministry said.

It also said Beijing will lift restrictions for various locations, such as Hainan island cruise ships passing through Shanghai ports.

Visas issued before March 28, 2020 that are still valid will also allow entry to China.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “China reopening its borders and issuing visas to foreign travellers after three years is another major step in the full recovery of the travel industry, following the unprecedented disruption of the pandemic.

“The removal of China’s travel restrictions will provide a significant boost to the global travel industry, with tens of millions travelling to and from the country each year.

“Following this news, we expect Advantage members to see a surge in bookings to China from both leisure and corporate travellers. For anyone planning to visit China we strongly recommend booking via your local travel agent, as they can advise on the best itinerary, have access to great value deals and can help navigate the complexities of travel to this destination, including the visa application process.”

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