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HomeChainaChina’s cross-border New Year holiday travel to hit 90% of pre-Covid level,...

China’s cross-border New Year holiday travel to hit 90% of pre-Covid level, authorities predict


China’s immigration authorities have predicted that cross-border travel over the New Year holiday will soar to five times the number recorded last year.

The period between December 30 and January 1 is expected to see a peak in border crossings across the country, with an average of 1.56 million entries and exits per day, the National Immigration Administration said in a notice on Thursday.

That would equal about 90 per cent of the level recorded in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic swept across China.

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The expected surge in travellers was due to the “ongoing resumption of international flight routes”, the notice said, along with a combination of policies such as “visa-free entry for Chinese citizens in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, as well as China’s visa-free entry to six countries, including France and Germany”.

Beijing announced last month that it would allow travellers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia to enter China visa-free for a 15-day stay. The policy will run until November 30 next year.

02:27

China expands visa-free travel to 6 new countries

China expands visa-free travel to 6 new countries

The measures followed an expansion of China’s visa-free transit policy to 54 countries for travellers heading to other countries.

The world’s second-largest economy is attempting to boost inbound travel after three years of strict anti-Covid restrictions largely closed China’s borders to the outside world.

Data from China’s tourism ministry showed the country received 477,800 foreign tourists in the first half of 2023 – only 5.6 per cent of the number recorded in the same period in 2019.

03:06

Southeast Asian aviation industry is booming amid return of tourism

Southeast Asian aviation industry is booming amid return of tourism

During a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden last month in San Francisco, both sides agreed to expand travel and personal exchanges between China and the United States, as well as increase flights and streamline visa processing.

Recent figures from the National Immigration Administration showed that China recorded a total of 291 million border entries and exits during the first three quarters of this year, less than 60 per cent of the amount in the same period in 2019.

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The administration said in the notice that immigration authorities nationwide have been instructed to “scientifically forecast and promptly release information” on passenger flows to help the public make travel plans, and to have enough officers on duty to “open a full range of inspection channels”.

“The National Immigration Administration has made specialised arrangements for the entry-exit customs clearance at ports during the New Year’s Day holiday … to ensure the port operation is safe, smooth and orderly,” the notice said.



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