China will reopen its borders to tourists on Wednesday after three years of COVID-19 restrictions, China’s Foreign Ministry has announced.
Beijing will resume issuing all categories of visas to tourists and other foreigners as it tries to breathe life back into its tourism industry and boost its economy after declaring victory over the virus last month.
The changes mean visa-free travel in some areas that didn’t require the passes pre-pandemic, and visas issued before the outbreak that haven’t expired will still be eligible to secure entry.
China’s Foreign Ministry didn’t specify in its Chinese-language announcement Tuesday whether vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests will be required for entry.
China started reopening its borders earlier this year, rolling back the restrictive travel policies that have largely isolated it from the rest of the world since the start of the pandemic
Reuters reports that a surge of travelers isn’t expected immediately after the announcement, noting that international tourism made up less than 10 percent of China’s GDP in 2019, the year before the pandemic.