China to Reopen to Tourists, Resume All Visas Wednesday

AP Photo/Andy Wong, File
An airliner worker asks traveller to declare their health information after checking in at the international flight check in counter at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Aug. 24, 2022.

HONG KONG (AP) — China will reopen its borders to tourists and resume issuing all visas Wednesday after a three-year halt during the pandemic as it sought to boost its tourism and economy.

China is one of the last major countries to reopen its borders to tourists. The announcement Tuesday came after it declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19 in February.

All types of visas will resume from Wednesday. Visa-free entry also will resume at destinations such as Hainan Island as well as for cruise ships entering Shanghai that had no visa requirement before COVID-19.

Visa-free entry will resume for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macao to enter Guangdong in southern China, and foreigners holding visas issued before March 28, 2020, that are still valid will be allowed to enter China. The notice didn’t specify whether vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 tests would be required.

The move would “further facilitate the exchange of Chinese and foreign personnel,” according to the notice posted on the websites of numerous Chinese missions and embassies.

China had stuck to a harsh “zero-COVID” strategy involving sudden lockdowns and daily COVID-19 testing to try to stop the virus before abandoning most aspects of the policy in December amid growing opposition.