Report: China to Cut Quarantine, Reopen for Tourism
China will cut it’s mandatory quarantine on arrival for foreign visitors and will reopen for tourism according to newspaper reports.
News outlet Bloomberg reported that China will change its COVID policies for overseas visitors in January.
According to the report, overseas travellers visiting China will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.
Government officials told Bloomberg that instead of being quarantined, foreign visitors will be monitored.
The new approach has been dubbed the “0+3 policy” as overseas visitors will be monitored for three days.
However, the plans have reportedly not been finalised yet and it is not clear what “monitored” entails and whether foreign arrivals are free to do whatever they want after arriving in China.
If the arrival requirements will indeed be changed and quarantine is finally dropped, it will mark a remarkable departure from China’s zero-COVID policy.
China is one of the few countries left in the world which still has to fully reopen to foreign visitors after the COVID pandemic.
Under their zero-COVID approach, China has strict quarantine policies in place for both foreign arrivals as well as Chinese citizens.
The zero-COVID policy put an enormous strain on China’s tourism industry.
While there were more than 145 million international arrivals in China in 2019, the number dropped to just 27 million in 2020 and hasn’t recovered much in 2021.
Even if China will officially announce it is reopening to foreign tourists by dropping quarantine on arrival, I highly doubt the country will suddenly see a surge in tourism numbers.
Although it would obviously be great news to those who have family, friends or business ties in China, it will require more to convince foreign tourists to visit the country.
With most countries around the world having fully reopened to tourism without any COVID restrictions whatsoever, even the requirement of a PCR test on arrival will make many tourists think twice before booking a holiday in China.
Moreover, if quarantine or home isolation requirements when getting ill during a stay in China remain, this will be another major deterrent discouraging foreign tourists from visiting.
I’m also curious to see whether travel restrictions inside China will be removed completely, as I doubt there are many tourists who will happily let themselves being tested whenever they move to a different city.
UPDATE 26-12: The Chinese government has now officially announced that quarantine on arrival will end on January 8th.
According to newspaper reports, China will drop its quarantine requirements for foreign visitors and slowly reopen for tourism.
Instead, foreign arrivals will be “monitored” for three days, although it is not yet known what this will mean exactly.
Although it’s great news that China is slowly moving away from its untenable zero-COVID approach, I highly doubt that it will move the needle and foreign tourists will suddenly visit the country in big numbers.
After almost three years of zero-COVID policy, foreign tourists will need many more assurances of a carefree holiday before they will start booking their tickets to China.
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