China to Resume Issuing Visas To Foreign Tourists

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China to Fully Reopen Border on Wednesday After Two Years
Travelers queue up to go through passport control at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (photo: Gettyimages)

China will reopen its borders and let foreign travelers visit the country for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, by resuming the issuance of visas across all categories on Wednesday.

After declaring their victory over the virus last month, Chinese authorities lifted the last cross-border control measure put in place to protect against Covid-19.

According to Reuters, tourism industry insiders are not expecting a huge influx of travelers shortly after the reopening nor a substantial economic boost. In 2019, international tourists contributed to only 0.9 percent of China’s GDP.

However, the resumption of visa issuance for foreign visitors would help Beijing normalize two-way travel between China and the world after withdrawing its advisory on foreign travel for its citizens.

Furthermore, China’s Foreign Ministry declared on Tuesday that places in China that were visa-free before the outbreak will be restored to visa-free status following the reopening, including the southern tourist island of Hainan, a long-time favorite for Russian tourists, as well as cruise ships traveling through Shanghai port.

Visa-free entry for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macau to China’s Guangdong region will also resume, which will benefit high-end hotels popular with international business travelers in particular. Additionally, travelers whose visas were issued before March 28, 2020, can enter the country if their visas haven’t expired.

Commenting on the resuming of China’s visa services, Vaughn Barber, the chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in China, said, “The announcement that China will resume issuing nearly all types of visas for foreigners from tomorrow is positive for Australian businesses whose executives would like to travel to here to visit their China-based teams, customers, and suppliers and to explore new business opportunities in the mainland market.”