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China to Stop Requiring Covid-19 Tests from Incoming Travelers

Published: Aug. 29, 2023
On August 28, 2023, the spokesman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Wang Wenbin declared that since August 30, 2023, Covid-19 test, including nucleic acid test or antigen test will no longer be required from inbound travelers. 

By then, all restrictions on incoming travelers will have been lifted since the outbreak of Covid-19. Welcome to China! 

What’s behind the decision? – Hot domestic tourism vs. scarce inbound travelers

Since the lift of covid-19 restrictions in the end of 2022, China domestic tourism has gradually recovered. During the summer holiday in July and August of 2023, it greatly boomed. For instance, the Forbidden City in Beijing has been fully appointed every day; the Great Tang All Day Mall in Xi’an has received a sea of travelers every night that one-way circulation has to be implemented for safety reasons… According to latest statistics, the domestic travelers from June to August of 2023 will reach about 1,854 million, making it the “hottest” summer in the past 5 years. 
With an obvious contrast, the number of inbound tourists is poor. The recent statistics show that Beijing only received 0.41 million inbound visitors from January to June in 2023, about 11% of that of the whole 2019; Shanghai received 1.24 million, about 13.8% of that of the whole 2019. What’s more, most inbound travelers have come to China for business activities, family reunion, work or study instead of sightseeing.   
The withdrawal of the covid-19 test will further simplify the entry process to China, aiming to attract more overseas visitors.  

​More Policies on the Way to Ease Inbound Visitors

1. Easier Visa Application Process

Recently, China embassies in France, Sydney and more have announced the exemption of fingerprints collection from applicants of single/double-entry M/L/Q2/G/C visas. 
Some officials have also requested to further simplify the current visa application process. Hope it will be carried out soon.  

2. International Flights to China Keep Increasing

Moscow – Guangzhou flights opened on July 5, 2023; Singapore – Beijing flights have started flying since July 20; Barcelona - Shenzhen flights has been in service since August 28; Chengdu – Sydney, Chengdu – Vienna and Chengdu – Penang flights have been approved in June and will soon fly… Hopefully, more international flights have been resumed or on the way to fly. 

3. International Bank Cards Accepted by WeChat Pay and Ali Pay

As electronic payment has been widely used in China, many overseas travelers worry they would have troubles paying for the bills in China. The problems have been solved. On July 20, 2023, WeChat Pay, one of the two most popular electronic payment apps, announced that they started to recognize international bank cards, which meant international travelers could add their cards to WeChat Pay and then use the app to pay in restaurants, supermarkets, roadside stalls, scenic spots and many other places like Chinese do. The Ali Pay, the other most popular electronic payment app, also declared the similar convenient policies for overseas visitors to China.
If you don’t feel like using the electronic payment, just prepare enough cash and changes. Most business in China still accept cash as before.

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