China studies easing entry rules for some foreign tourists

(CNN) — The Chinese government published this Monday, September 19, a draft regulation that aims to strengthen tourism along its border and facilitate the entry of some foreigners.

According to a draft policy document released by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism, tour groups organized by travel agencies in China’s border areas will be able to choose their port of entry and exit “flexibly.” However, further details about the locations and dates were not provided.

China has closed its borders to foreign tourists since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, and only allows certain groups of foreigners, such as those with valid visas, to enter the country.

In recent weeks, the government has significantly tightened Covid restrictions to contain the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant. In September, several megacities were placed under full or partial lockdowns.

Under the new draft policy, foreign tourists will be allowed to visit China’s border tourist spots, but only as part of tour groups.

The policy did not specify whether those entering would still have to comply with China’s quarantine requirements for incoming travellers, which consist of one week of hotel confinement and three days of observation at home.

China shares a border with 14 countries, including Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

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