China ready for Spring travel, passengers heading to train station

China New Year Holiday Travelers Reach Pre-Covid Levels

China has witnessed its New Year holiday travelers reach pre-Covid levels, a significant milestone in the country’s recovery from the pandemic’s impact. The National Immigration Administration reported that between December 30 and January 1, there were approximately 5.18 million border crossings across mainland China. This figure represents nearly a fivefold increase from the previous year and matches the travel numbers recorded in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The daily average of 1.73 million border entries and exits during this period exceeded the administration’s projection of 1.56 million, signaling a robust resurgence in both domestic and international travel. This recovery is a testament to the resilience of China’s travel industry and the growing confidence of travelers in the post-pandemic era.

Domestic travel in China also saw a significant rebound over the New Year holiday. According to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there were 135 million trips taken nationwide. This marks a 155.3% increase from the same period last year and a nearly 10% rise from the pre-Covid level in 2019. The surge in domestic travel not only reflects the pent-up demand for travel among Chinese citizens but also underscores the effectiveness of the country’s measures to control the pandemic and restore normalcy.

The tourism revenue during this period tripled from the same time in 2022 and was up 5.6% from the New Year holiday in 2019. This increase in revenue is a positive sign for China’s economy, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. The boost in tourism is expected to play a crucial role in revitalizing the economy and supporting various sectors dependent on travel and hospitality.

In addition to the surge in domestic travel, China has also seen an increase in international arrivals. In December, around 214,000 travelers arrived from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia, marking a 28.5% increase from the previous month. This increase followed the introduction of a new policy allowing travelers from these six countries to enter China for a stay of up to 15 days without a visa, valid until November 30 this year.

Over 55% of the travelers from these countries entered China via visa-free channels last month, with over 77% of those arrivals being for sightseeing, leisure, and business purposes. This policy is part of China’s broader strategy to boost its economy by attracting more international visitors and promoting cultural and business exchanges.

Furthermore, China has simplified the visa application process for US tourists from January 1, in a move to improve bilateral relations and encourage more travel and personal exchanges between the two countries. This initiative, along with increased flights and streamlined visa processing, is expected to further facilitate international travel to China.

The Chinese government is firmly committed to implementing policies that balance openness, high-quality development, and security. The National Immigration Administration has stated its dedication to working with relevant departments to further facilitate foreigners coming to China for business, study, tourism, work, or residence.

The return of China’s New Year holiday travelers to pre-Covid levels is a significant indicator of the country’s recovery and its reopening to the world. With continued efforts to promote safe and convenient travel, China is poised to regain its position as a major global travel destination.

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