Tourism industries worldwide are counting on tourism from China after the country lifted Covid-19 restrictions on group tours to 78 countries fueling hopes for global tourism recovery this year.
More specifically, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism expanded its list this month now allowing group travel to 78 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Japan, Germany and South Korea, among others. Canada was not included on the list.
The first list of approved-for-travel countries was released in January, followed by a second in March.
The decision prompted online tour operators to launch relevant products in efforts to tap into the expected demand. Indicatively, China’s largest travel agency, Trip.com, said the decision had led to a surge in searches for global travel destinations.
Meanwhile, last month, international flights in and out of China managed to recoup 53 percent of 2019 levels.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), China was the largest tourism source market in the world before the outbreak of Covid-19. Chinese tourists accounted for 155 million international trips spending some 255 billion dollars in 2019, more than all other tourists. A total of 65 percent of these traveled for leisure.
“Despite a cooling overall economy, 40 percent of [Chinese] people say they will spend more on travel,” said Steve Saxon, a partner at McKinsey & Co.
China relaxes rules for on-arrival business visas
Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has also eased rules for on-arrival business visas. The new regulations, to be finalized by the end of the month, will enable travelers visiting China for business or trade to apply for a business visa on arrival. At the same time, new regulations on residence permits will allow applicants to retain their passports during the application procedure.
Late last year, Greece and China agreed to work together on boosting tourist flows between the two countries and on increasing tourism-related investments for the 2022-2024 period under a joint action plan.