March 23, 2023

The date of opening the borders was not chosen by chance. In two weeks, China will celebrate the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), when millions of Chinese around the world traditionally return to their homeland. As the Global Times notes, on the eve of January 22, a sharp increase in the number of air passengers on flights to China and within the country is expected (about 11 thousand flights in total). According to Umetrip, daily passenger traffic will exceed one million people. At the same time, several times more people will use the railways. According to representatives of the Ministry of Transportation of China, the next 40 days will mark the largest migration of people in the world, more than 2 billion passenger trips will be made. This is 99.5 percent more than in 2022. And even then it will only be about 70 percent of the pre-pandemic level.

It is worth noting that the Chinese authorities began to weaken the anti-COVID policy late last year. The requirement to test negative in the PCR test in transport and public places is suppressed. Asymptomatic patients were allowed to remain isolated at home and not in a covid center. Penalties on airlines for finding infected people on board planes have been lifted. And since January 8, the level of danger and, consequently, the measures taken, has been reduced from category A to category B. The country’s anti-epidemic strategy has shifted from preventing the spread of infections to treating and preventing diseases Serious, experts. say.

At the same time, the authorities warn that the easing of anti-epidemiological measures does not mean at all that the country’s authorities are going to leave the virus unattended or completely abandon prevention and control measures. China is closely monitoring the mutation of the virus, speeding up vaccination of the population, increasing the supply of medicines, strengthening the establishment of the health care system and the epidemic prevention and control system, and improving emergency response capabilities.

China’s opening of borders refers not only to entry into the country, but also to exit. This means that millions of Chinese tourists will soon be in different parts of the world. But not everywhere they are ready to meet with open arms. The authorities of several countries, under the pretext of an increase in the number of cases in China itself (a rebound is noted after the abandonment of the zero tolerance policy), have already begun to demand negative coronavirus tests from those who arrive from Porcelana . Such measures are being taken in Australia, Britain, India, Spain, Italy, Canada, Qatar, the US, France, and other countries.

Netizens saw this as a sign of racism against the Chinese, since the rules do not apply to tourists coming from other countries. Beijing will “respond in accordance with the principle of reciprocity” to those who “try to manipulate epidemic prevention and control measures to achieve political goals,” China’s Foreign Ministry said.

At the same time, places once popular with Chinese tourists have high hopes of making a comeback. Thus, before the pandemic, Spain received up to 700,000 tourists from China per year (the peak was in 2019). However, at the height of the pandemic, in 2021, just over 29,000 Chinese visited the Iberian kingdom. Spain’s Ministry of Tourism hopes to restore the country’s status as one of the most sought after European destinations for tourists in China.

However, while the Chinese are not particularly interested in Europe. As the data from popular travel platforms shows, while they are ready to run mainly to the countries of Southeast Asia, where there are no restrictions for them.

According to Liu Siming, an analyst with the tourism department of the China Futures Research Society, “Chinese need time to gain the confidence to travel after many have lost their jobs or earned less money during the pandemic.” In her opinion, Chinese tourism will not fully recover in 2024 either.

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