Cambodia welcomes 1st group tour of Chinese tourists after pandemic

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday welcomed the first group tour of Chinese tourists after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a representative of the kingdoms tour and travel operators said.Photo: Shenzhen AirlinesA flight carrying some 140 Chinese tourists in a group tour landed at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday afternoon from Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, receiving a warm welcome from Cambodian tourism officials and tour operators, said Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents."Tourism Ministrys Secretary of State Hor Sarun and I greeted them at the airport upon their arrival and presented them with roses, wrist garlands, and traditional scarves," she told Xinhua via telephone.Sivlin said the tourists, on a five-day tour program, will visit capital city Phnom Penh, the cultural province Siem Reap, and the coastal province Preah Sihanouk."Were very happy to receive the first batch of Chinese tourists in a group tour today," she said. "Their comeback is crucial to help boost the recovery of our tourism industry."The arrival of the Chinese tourists came as China, one of the worlds largest outbound tourism markets in the pre-pandemic era, resumed outbound group tours.Starting from Monday, China resumed outbound group tours to 20 countries, including Cambodia, Thailand, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and New Zealand.China was the largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia in the pre-pandemic era, a Ministry of Tourisms report said, adding that the kingdom received 2.36 million Chinese tourists in 2019, generating about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the Southeast Asian nation is projected to attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists in 2023, an expected increase from merely 110,000 in 2022."China is the most important outbound tourism market for the world, so Chi...

Chinese mainland and SARs fully resume border travel

Cross-border travel between the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs) fully resumed on Monday, with the daily quota system and pre-departure nucleic acid test requirement cancelled.

Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region plans eight new airports


Tibet lures tourists for winter visits


Tourism resumes between China and Japan after weeks-long visa spat

China has started issuing visas to Japanese citizens again, after suspending the process in January to hit back at COVID-19 measures imposed on Chinese travelers. The visa spat has had an impact on tourism in both countries.Passengers wearing face masks are seen at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 29, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)Hu Jiying, vice-general manager at China Youth Travel Service told CGTN that since Sunday, when China began issuing visas for Japanese people again, they have been in contact with their customers.The travel agency was monitoring media coverage for updates, and says the policy change came sooner than expected."People from both the Chinese and Japanese tourism industries are eagerly looking forward to the resumption of bilateral tourism exchanges. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said, amity between people is the key to sound relations between states. Inbound tourism is also called people-to-people diplomacy. We hope such people-to-people diplomacy can resume soon to promote the bilateral relationship." Hu said.On January 10, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo stopped issuing ordinary visas to Japanese citizens, after Japans imposed new COVID-related entry restrictions targeting Chinese passengers. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed disappointment over Beijings decision. Industry insiders say they didnt expect disputes over border management to impact tourism to Japan.Last week, the Japanese embassy in China said its visa operations have returned to normal, following changes to the epidemic situation. It means Chinese citizens can enter Japan normally again.But some say theres another meaning - a gesture of friendship, as Japan sees increased business, tourism and economic ties with China, a visa suspension is simply not realistic.According to China Youth Travel Service, its visa applications to Japan decreased in January due to the policy changes. Currently, only five year multiple entry visas, busin...

Snow, swans attract visitors to Shandong

In Rongcheng, Shandong province, whirling snow and whooper swans created beautiful winter scenery that attracted visitors, amateur shutterbugs and professional photographers during the Spring Festival. Snow, swans and houses thatched with sea grass combined for scenes that attracted tourists to Rongcheng, Shandong province, during Spring Festival. Photo by Li Xinjun/For its favorable geographical location and wetlands, Rongcheng is an important stop for migratory waterfowl, with more than 10,000 birds staying at the site annually.The swans stick around for around five months, making Rongcheng one of the largest wintering grounds for whooper swans in the world.

Int'l arrivals to Vietnam surge sharply in January

People choose flowers at a flower market ahead of Tet or the Lunar New Year festival in Long Bien District in Hanoi, Vietnam on Jan. 18, 2023. (Photo: VNA/Handout via Xinhua)HANOI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam welcomed 871,200 international arrivals in January, surging 44 times compared to the same period last year, mainly thanks to the resumption of international flights post pandemic, the General Statistics Office said on Monday.During the period, foreign visitors entering the Southeast Asian country by air accounted for 91.9 percent of the total, followed by road with 7.5 percent and sea routes with 5.6 percent, respectively.Most of the arrivals were from Asia with around 70 percent, according to the office.Vietnam saw approximately 3.7 million international arrivals in 2022, surging 23.3-fold from the previous year, but still falling short of the target which was set at 5 million.It is forecast there will be a surge in international travel demand this year and Vietnam is expected to see a breakthrough in both the number of international tourists and revenues, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing Nguyen Trung Khanh, general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.Vietnam will actively implement its tourism promotion programs including attending international travel expos, he said.The country is striving to attract over 8 million international arrivals this year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Cross-Straits ferries see passenger growth during holiday

During the past Spring Festival holiday, 775 passengers have taken the ferry between the coastal areas of East Chinas Fujian province and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu of Taiwan, according to local maritime authorities.Passengers wave goodbye to those seeing them off on a ferry to Matsu from Fuzhou, Fujian province. (File photo: Xinhua)The ferry routes, which resumed from Jan 7 to Feb 6 after a suspension of nearly three years in order to facilitate travel during the holiday, were important for residents in the outlying islands to travel across the Straits.Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said on Saturday that the passenger and cargo transport volume by sea in the province has achieved substantial growth compared with the holiday last year.In the seven-day Spring Festival holiday that ended on Friday, about one million passengers have traveled by sea in Fujian, with a year-on-year growth of 40 percent, it said.A total of 6,442 ships entered or departed ports in Fujian, an increase of 21.1 percent year-on-year. The throughput of key energy materials such as electricity, coal, oil and gas reached 4.068 million metric tons, up 72.7 percent.The ferry route to Gulangyu Island, a famous sightseeing spot in Xiamen of Fujian, saw peak of passenger traffic during this Spring Festival, with more than 140,000 people visiting the island in the first four days of the holiday, according to local authorities.Maritime authorities in the province said they have strengthened inspection and law enforcement during the holiday to ensure the safe operation of ferries along the coast, and the water traffic safety situation during Spring Festival remained stable.

Spring Festival holiday sees surge in entry, exit trips

BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Passengers made 2.88 million trips through Chinas entry and exit frontier inspection stations during the week-long Spring Festival holiday that started on Jan. 21.Passengers are seen in a waiting hall at Chongqingbei Railway Station in Chongqing, southwest China, Feb. 17, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)It registered a stunning year-on-year increase of 120.5 percent, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Saturday.Inbound trips exceeded 1.43 million, rising by 123.3 percent compared with the figure for 2022, while outbound trips jumped by 117.8 percent to over 1.44 million, according to the NIA.

Spring Festival holiday tops 225 million passenger trips

Passengers go through ticket barriers at Fuyang West Railway Station in East Chinas Anhui Province, Jan. 27, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)More than 225 million trips were taken during Chinas Spring Festival holiday between January 21 and 27, according to a State Council working group.

Millions on journeys as break nears end

Halfway through the Spring Festival travel rush, the anticipated passenger flow surge has demonstrated Chinese peoples strong desire to travel, the nations robust consumption potential and its economic vitality, thanks to the optimized COVID-19 response management.This years 40-day Spring Festival travel rush started on Jan 7 and will end on Feb 15. From Jan 7 to Thursday - the first half of the travel rush - 143 million trips were made on the national railway network, up 35.6 percent year-on-year, China State Railway Group said on Friday.On Thursday, the 20th day of the travel rush, 43.56 million trips were made across the country, a year-on-year increase of 85.9 percent, according to the Ministry of Transport.Among them, 10.29 million, 30.72 million, 978,000 and 1.58 million trips were made via rail, road, waterways and air, up 54.3,102, 99 and 58 percent year-on-year, respectively.As the first Spring Festival travel rush since the country optimized its COVID-19 response management this month and relaxed travel restrictions last month, people have shown a strong desire to travel.Travelers no longer need negative nucleic acid test results or health codes, are not required to undergo nucleic acid testing or health inspection upon arrival, and will not have their temperatures checked.Earlier estimates showed that about 2.1 billion passenger trips are expected to be made during the period, a year-on-year increase of 99.5 percent.The national railway network has seen a surge in passenger flow and freight transport remains at a high level.According to China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, nearly 110 million passenger trips were made from Jan 7 to Jan 21, a year-on-year increase of 27.3 percent.Travelers ready to start their return trips swipe tickets at a railway station in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Friday, the last day of this years Spring Festival holiday. (Photo: China Daily)During the period, the railway network transp...

Shanghai receives over 10 mln visits during Spring Festival holiday

SHANGHAI, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai received over 10 million visits during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, with tourism revenue reaching 16.64 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars), authorities said Friday.A staff member guides a passenger at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in east Chinas Shanghai, Jan. 21, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)More than 500 cultural and tourism activities were rolled out to celebrate the Chinese New Year, according to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.The citys main tourist attractions received over 4.1 million visits, about 90 percent of the figure during the Spring Festival holiday in 2019.During the holiday, 72 museums and 39 art galleries across the megacity welcomed 500,000 visits and 230,000 visits, respectively, up 62 percent and 3 percent year on year.The citys world-renowned Huangpu River cruise tour received 72,400 visits, up 239 percent from a year ago.

China sees 308 million domestic tourist trips over Spring Festival holiday

Visitors at a scenic spot in Xichang City, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province, January 27, 2023. (Photo:CFP)China has measured about 308 million domestic tourist visits during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, up 23.1 percent year on year, recovered to 88.6 percent for the same period in 2019, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Friday.Domestic tourism revenue reached 375.843 billion yuan, up 30 percent year-on-year, recovering to 73.1 percent of the same period in 2019.Chinas cultural and tourism market has remained stable and orderly during the holiday, which ends on Friday, it added.

Philippines to extend e-visa for Asian tourism market

File photo MANILA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Thursday ordered government agencies to work on the extension of e-visa for travelers from major tourism markets in Asia, including China, to boost the recovery of the sector.The Presidential Communications Office said Marcos issued the directive during a meeting with a private-sector tourism advisory council that had recommended the inclusion of Indian nationals under the visa-upon-arrival program and the extension of e-visa to Chinese, Indian, South Korean and Japanese citizens.The government is collaborating on developing the technical plans, including various "connectivity matters."As a key economic driver, the tourism industrys contribution to the Philippines gross domestic product stood at 12.7 percent in 2019.Over 1.74 million Chinese tourists visited the Southeast Asian country in 2019. The Philippines has set a target for 2023 to lure some 4.8 million international visitors, with the Chinese tourist market remaining on its priority list.

China's outbound travel market sees recovery at Spring Festival

HANGZHOU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- On the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a Chinese tourist surnamed Wu landed in Bangkok, Thailand, together with her parents, at the start of a long-awaited vacation. "I wanted to take my family to Thailand a few years ago, but it was put on hold due to the CO

China sees rise in railway trips ahead of Spring Festival

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China saw a 27.3-percent year-on-year increase in railway passenger trips made during the 15 days ahead of this years Spring Festival, which falls on Sunday, according to the national railway operator.A high-speed train runs in Dalian, northeast Chinas Liaoning Province, October 3, 2020. (Photo: CFP)From Jan. 7 to Jan. 21, 109.5 million trips were made by train, 23.5 million more than last years pre-festival period, data from China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. shows.In the past two years, most Chinese people stayed put during the festival amid virus curbs, but the countrys shift in COVID-19 response has brought a change.The total number of passenger trips for this years 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which began on Jan. 7, is expected to reach 2.1 billion, almost twice as much as last year or 70.3 percent of the 2019 reading, according to the Ministry of Transport.The growing travel demand is a result of Chinas recent downgrading of COVID-19 management from Class A to Class B.Under Class B management, travelers no longer need to present health codes and negative nucleic acid test results or undergo temperature checks when entering railway stations and airports.

Bali welcomes back 1st flight from China as COVID rules ease

A direct flight from China landed in Indonesias resort island of Bali for the first time in nearly three years on Sunday after the route was suspended due to the pandemic.Chinese tourists arrive at Ngurah Rai international airport in Bali, Indonesia on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (Photo: AP)At least 210 people were on board the chartered plane operated by Indonesias Lion Air from Shenzhen in Chinas southern Guangdong province.Some Chinese tourists who arrived at the airport in Bali said they were glad to have the chance to travel internationally again after China ended its strict COVID-19 restrictions."I feel very happy and relaxed. It was a long time we did not go abroad," said An Pei, a Chinese tourist who was on the flight.The flight followed the Chinese governments decision to lift travel restrictions announced on January 8 and it coincided with the start of the Lunar New Year, which was being marked Sunday.The Shenzhen-to-Bali route will operate once a week during its initial phase, according to a statement from Danang Mandala Prihantoro, a spokesperson for Lion Air.Indonesia is targeting 255,000 tourists from China in 2023. Indonesia recorded 94,924 visits from China from January to October 2022. More than 2 million tourists from China visited Indonesia each year before the pandemic.The return of Chinese tourists is expected to support the overall target of foreign tourist arrivals this year. Indonesia aims to record 3.5 million to 7.4 million foreign visits, said Sandiaga Uno, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, in a statement Friday. China is one of the largest markets for inbound tourism in Indonesia."Based on online travel agent data in China, there has been an increase in search volume for overseas tourist destinations by 430%. Indonesia is in the top 5 searches and Balis search volume has increased by 250%," Uno said.Indonesias government is exploring ways to attract more Chinese tourists, including ...

Lunar New Year celebration kicks off at Disney California Adventure Park

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Lunar New Year celebration kicked off Friday at Disney California Adventure Park, ushering in a joyous tribute to Chinese and other Asian cultures.A file photo of Mickeys Fun Wheel at dusk in Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, the U.S. (Photo: VCG)Disneyland, home to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, has seen its annual Lunar New Year celebration explode in popularity in recent years. Filled with auspicious wishes for health, luck and prosperity throughout the new year, the celebration will last through Feb. 15 this year.The 2023 Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Sunday. It is based on a 12-year Zodiac cycle of characters, with 2023 being the Year of the Rabbit."The Chinese zodiac calendar plays a significant role in shaping the traditions, holidays and foods enjoyed in Asian communities all over the globe," wrote Kelsey Lynch, Public Relations Director at Disneyland Resort, in a Disney Parks Blog post."In Chinese culture, the rabbit has the unique characteristic of waiting for an opportune moment and then leaping into action. More than any other zodiac animal, the rabbit symbolizes luck," she noted.Mulans Lunar New Year Procession is one of the favorite spectacles for visitors from around the world. The vibrant performance hosted by Mulan, an ancient Chinese legendary heroine character, features dozens of spirited parade performers as they honor family, friendship, and the potential for a fortune-filled new year.Another centerpiece of the celebration is a dazzling nighttime water show, Hurry Home, which tells the tale of a little lanterns quest to reunite with family for the annual celebration of good luck and fortune. Accompanied by a stirring musical score, created by Academy Award-winning Chinese-born American composer Tan Dun, visitors will be immersed in the magic of a six-minute tale.The Lunar New Year celebration activities in the theme park include Chinese tr...

Selected outbound tours given go-ahead

Chinese tourists are welcomed by local officials and ground staff at Velana International Airport, Maldives, on Wednesday. China was the largest source of tourists in the Maldives for years before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, nearly 300,000 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives, accounting for around 17 percent of the total tourist arrivals that year. (Photo: Xinhua)China will resume outbound group travel to a selected group of countries early next month, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.The ministry said in a notice on its website on Friday that a pilot program will take effect on Feb 6 to allow travel agencies to open outbound group travel for Chinese citizens to 20 countries - Thailand,Indonesia, Cambodia, the Maldives,Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba and Argentina.Travel agencies will also be allowed to offer flight and hotel packages to tourists starting the same time, according to the notice.The decision was made at the request of the foreign affairs panel of the State Councils Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the countrys top COVID-19 response task force, and was based on considerations over COVID-19 control measures and socioeconomic development, the ministry said.The notice stipulates that tour organizers strictly obey official COVID-19 measures at home and abroad. Tourists will be urged to make sure they are not infected with the highly contagious disease before boarding flights, pay attention to their own safety and health and follow local COVID-19 rules during the journey, and comply with epidemic prevention requirements after returning to their hometown.On social networking platform Sina Weibo, many micro-bloggers said in comments about the news that they were eager to travel overseas. A user named Elegance of Snow Lotus wrote, "I will travel around the world", whi...

International destinations thrilled to welcome back Chinese tourism

A Thai official gives a garland to Chinese tourists as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn province, Thailand, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Photo:CFP)Soon after China downgraded its COVID-19 management measures, many Chinese tourists embarked on outbound travels. Many tourism destinations are thrilled to welcome them back."Egypt welcomes tourists from China with open arms, Chinese tourists are very important for the revival of Egypts tourism industry!" A travel agency manager in Egypt told Guangming Daily.Tourism is an important economic pillar and source of foreign exchange earnings for Egypt. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, tourism in Egypt has been hit hard, and the performance of the travel agency has dropped sharply."Chinas announcement that it will resume Chinese citizens traveling to qualified countries gives us hope. The Chinese-speaking guides of the travel agency will soon resume work. I look forward to Chinese friends visiting Egypt as soon as possible," the manager said.According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), before the outbreak, China was one of the worlds leading consumers of outbound tourism. The optimized and adjusted epidemic prevention policy will have a positive impact on the development of China and the global tourism industry.It is expected that during the Spring Festival this year, overseas tourist destinations will welcome a large number of Chinese tourists going abroad.According to, Chinas major travel booking agency, as of January 5, overseas travel orders during the 7-day Spring Festival surged by 540 percent compared with the same period last year, and the average order cost increased by 32 percent year on year.Among them, orders for travel to Melbourne, Australia during the Spring Festival increased by more than 50 times year on year, and travel orders to Bangkok, Thailand increased by more than 10 times."Cambodia welc...

International destinations thrilled to welcome back Chinese tourism

Soon after China downgraded its COVID-19 management measures, many Chinese tourists embarked on outbound travels. Many tourism destinations are thrilled to welcome them back.A Thai official gives a garland to Chinese tourists as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn province, Thailand, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (Photo: CFP)"Egypt welcomes tourists from China with open arms, Chinese tourists are very important for the revival of Egypts tourism industry!" A travel agency manager in Egypt told Guangming Daily.Tourism is an important economic pillar and source of foreign exchange earnings for Egypt. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, tourism in Egypt has been hit hard, and the performance of the travel agency has dropped sharply."Chinas announcement that it will resume Chinese citizens traveling to qualified countries gives us hope. The Chinese-speaking guides of the travel agency will soon resume work. I look forward to Chinese friends visiting Egypt as soon as possible," the manager said.According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), before the outbreak, China was one of the worlds leading consumers of outbound tourism. The optimized and adjusted epidemic prevention policy will have a positive impact on the development of China and the global tourism industry.It is expected that during the Spring Festival this year, overseas tourist destinations will welcome a large number of Chinese tourists going abroad.According to, Chinas major travel booking agency, as of January 5, overseas travel orders during the 7-day Spring Festival surged by 540 percent compared with the same period last year, and the average order cost increased by 32 percent year on year.Among them, orders for travel to Melbourne, Australia during the Spring Festival increased by more than 50 times year on year, and travel orders to Bangkok, Thailand increased by more than 10 times."Cambodia welc...

China's reopening provides much-needed jolt to global tourism: UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is bullish about the tourism industry in 2023 and believes Chinas recent reopening will deliver a much-needed jolt to global tourism recovery and growth.UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili delivers a speech at the 24th edition of the UNWTO general assembly, at the Palacio de Cibeles, in Madrid, Spain, November 30, 2021. (Photo: CFP)"The removal of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in China is a significant and much-welcomed step to the recovery of the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific and worldwide," Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UNWTO, wrote in a written reply to CGTN on Wednesday.On January 8, China further relaxed COVID-19 restrictions on international passenger flights in a move that is expected to greatly invigorate global tourism with the revival of the countrys inbound and outbound travel.Pololikashvili told CGTN that Chinese travelers will offer a boost to a flagging world economy.He cited UNTWO data showing that in the years before COVID-19 hit, China was the worlds top source market in terms of volume and spending.China recorded 154 million outbound trips in 2019 with expenditure hitting $254.6 billion, accounting for 17 percent of all spending on tourism internationally. At the same time, China was the fourth most visited destination pre-pandemic in 2019 with 65.7 million tourists."In the short term, we expect to see a strong rebound, particularly in Asian destinations," said Pololikashvili.UNWTOs forward-looking scenarios for 2023. (Graphic: UN World Tourism Organization)Despite diverse challenges facing the industry like expected economic downturns and continued geopolitical uncertainties, Pololikashvili anticipates a strong year for the sector in 2023.International tourist arrivals could reach 80 percent to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels this year, according to a UNWTO press release issued on Tuesday. Howev...

Japan records 3.8 mln foreign visitors in 2022

TOKYO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2022 reached 3.83 million, a 15-fold increase from the previous year, after the phased easing of COVID-19 border restrictions, government data showed Wednesday.Foreign tourists shop around at a souvenir shop near a temple in Tokyo, Japan on October 17, 2022. (Photo: AP)Despite the surge in the number of foreign tourists, last years figure was still 88 percent lower than the record high of 31.88 million in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).The figures have been gradually increasing since Japan removed the daily entry cap and resumed visa-free entry for individual travelers in October last year.In December alone, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was 1.37 million, a significant increase from 12,084 a year earlier, the JNTO said.The JNTO also said overseas visitors spent 595.2 billion yen (about 4.54 billion U.S. dollars) between October and December, about half the amount for the same period in 2019.

Personnel flow at entry & exit points in China reaches 500,000 per day, up by 48%: immigration authorities

Passengers from Hong Kong arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport on January 8, 2023. (Photo: VCG)Since China downgraded its COVID-19 management on January 8, the daily average of people passing through entrance and exit points has reached 501,000, up by over 48 percent than before the announcement of COVID policy shift, according to official data on Tuesday. Lin Yongsheng, spokesperson for the National Immigration Administration, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the current daily average amount is about a quarter of pre-epidemic level. Opening more than 3,200 windows for immigration document application and 53 ports nationwide, authorities have received an average of 341,000 entry and exit documents per day, up 130 percent before the policy announcement, reaching more than half of pre-epidemic level, the spokesperson said. On average, it will take less than 30 minutes at entry and exit points at major ports at Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai in South Chinas Guangdong Province, and Manzhouli of North Chinas Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Lin noted. "With Chinas COVID management entering a new phase, the National Immigration Administration has rolled out optimized measures to actively promote personnel exchanges between China and overseas," Lin said. "It is expected that with the orderly resumption of immigration processing works and passenger clearance at various ports, the number of permits issued by public security authorities and personnel flow will continue to grow, gradually returning to pre-epidemic levels," Lin noted. According to the latest data, a total of about 65 million residents from the Chinese mainland entered and exited the country in 2022, about 10 million less than in 2021. In addition, some 47 million residents from Chinas Hong Kong and Macao regions and 4.5 million foreign nationals have entered and exited the country in 2022, mounting to a total of 116 million persons...

Cambodia expects 4 mln int'l tourists this year after China's pandemic strategy optimization

Photo taken on Sept. 19, 2020 shows the statue of late Cambodian King Father Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Photo: Xinhua)PHNOM PENH, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia is projected to receive 4 million international tourists in 2023 after Chinas optimization of its COVID-19 strategy early this month, a tourism official said on Tuesday.Kong Sopheareak, director of Tourism Statistics Department at the Ministry of Tourism, said China is the most important outbound tourism market for the world, and Chinas optimization of its COVID-19 strategy is a boon not only for Cambodia, but also for global tourism."We hope that more Chinese tourists, business people and investors will come to Cambodia, given close relationship between our two countries and peoples," he told Xinhua."The presence of Chinese tourists is vital to help boost our tourism and economy," he added.According to Sopheareak, the Southeast Asian nation welcomed 2.28 million international tourists in 2022. Of them, 106,875 were Chinese tourists.Cambodias Tourism Minister Thong Khon told Xinhua last week that Cambodia is ready to welcome the return of Chinese people, tourists, business people and investors."Chinas resumption of outbound tourism is very beneficial not only to Cambodia, but also to the whole world," he said. "We hope that Cambodia will attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists in 2023."Tourism is one of the four major pillars supporting Cambodias economy. In the pre-pandemic era, the kingdom registered 6.6 million international tourists in 2019, generating 4.92 billion U.S. dollars in revenue that contributed 12.1 percent to the countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP).The kingdom is famous for its three world heritage sites, namely the Angkor Archaeological Park, the Preah Vihear Temple, and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site.Besides, it has a 450-km pristine coastline stretching across four southwestern provinces.

China's daily entry, exit trips hit record high since epidemic

Immigration authorities across China on Monday handled 676,000 exits and entries, hitting a record high since the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Tuesday.Inbound travelers go through the immigration check upon arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, Jan 8, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)NIA statistics showed that Mondays figure jumped by 124.2 percent from the average daily entry and exit trips before China downgraded its COVID-19 management on Jan 8, and accounted for nearly 37 percent of the pre-COVID-19 level.Land ports with Hong Kong and Macao saw 568,000 entries and exits on Monday, accounting for 84 percent of the daily total and increasing by 39.2 percent from the previous day.On Monday, normal travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao was fully resumed.

Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway marks 10 mln users milestone

An expressway cuts through Nairobi on May 14. (Photo: Xinhua)The 27.1 km Nairobi Expressway, built by a Chinese firm under a public-private partnership model on Tuesday honored ten million motorists who have used it since its official launch in July 2022.Senior officials, executives and ordinary motorists graced the occasion to mark the ten million users milestone on the modern thoroughfare that has eased movement from the southern tip of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi where the main airport is located, to the upmarket Westlands district.Joseph Mbugua, the Principal Secretary for Roads termed the Nairobi Expressway an iconic infrastructure project that has enhanced the seamless movement of people and cargo, positioning the country as a commercial and logistics hub."The Expressway has introduced efficiencies in the intermodal logistics within Nairobi and the wider East African region while improving supply chain logistics for the business operators," Mbugua said.He added that courtesy of Nairobi Expressway, conference tourism has regained luster adding that its linkage with the main airport, the Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and a host of ring roads within the capital has improved the countrys overall economic productivity.The Nairobi Expressway is a Class A highway with a four-lane dual carriageway that extends to six lanes in some sections while the thoroughfare has 15 entrances and 14 exits to guarantee motorists a seamless movement to various destinations.Construction of the Nairobi Expressway by China Road and Bridge Corporation commenced in September 2020 and its use on a trial basis started in May 2022, paving way for its official launch by the then Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta on July 31, 2022.The Expressway has cut traveling time between Nairobis Westlands district and the main airport from two hours to twenty minutes, amid relief to motorists who include tourists and entrepre...

Chiang Mai celebrates its 46th Flower Festival, aiming to revive tourism

Chiangmai (People’s Daily) - After skipping last year’s celebrations due to COVID-19, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival is back this year, from February 3 to 5. Like other years, this Flower Festival is held mainly at Nong Buak Haad Park, in the southwest corner of the old Chiang Mai city, Thailand.Photo: Yin Yue/PeoplesDailyAt the park, there are large floats adorned with flowers as well as marching bands, school groups and dancers. Since the festival is held close to the Chinese New Year, the theme of the festival is “Rabbits and the wonders of flora and fauna.”Photo: Yin Yue/Peoples DailyThe Chiang Mai Flower Festival has been running for more than 40 years and celebrates the beautiful flowers in bloom during this season. Chiang Mai, also known as the Rose of the North, is the largest city in northern Thailand and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.Photo: Yin Yue/Peoples Daily

Thais roll out welcome for tour groups

Thailand is among the countries that welcomed the return of Chinese tour groups on Monday, complete with a ceremony held by Thai and Chinese officials in Bangkok that saw the first arrivals handed flowers and travel guides.

New rules lift prospect of outbound tourism market

After outbound tourism came to a near standstill over the past three years, tour operators are seeing a rapid recovery of the industry with travelers eager to take advantage of the nations optimized COVID-19 policies.Travelers from Hong Kong enter Shenzhen, Guangdong province, at the Lo Wu Control Point on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Friday that travel agencies could resume booking group travel to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions from Monday.The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council also announced on Friday the normalization of group tours between the mainland and the two SARs.Mainland and Hong Kong railway authorities have agreed to remove the requirement for passengers traveling to Hong Kong on the Guangzhou-Hong Kong High-speed Railway to present negative nucleic acid test results.Under the new policy, overseas travelers departing the two regions who havent traveled to other international destinations within seven days of departure can enter the mainland without a negative nucleic acid test result.In late January, the tourism ministry announced that starting on Monday travel agencies could resume organizing group tours to 20 countries and regions, including Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Switzerland.Thanks to the new policies, tourism operators are expecting to see a boom in outbound travel.Travel portal Tuniu said as of Monday afternoon, bookings for overseas trips on its platform had surged 324 percent from the previous day. Bookings made for outbound travel this week are double the number of those made in the previous week, the travel portal said.Early Monday, the first tour group departed from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, to travel to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, marking the resumption of outbound group tours.Zhao Wenzhi, president of GZL International Travel Service, said more than 500 tours organized by his company were to foreign destinations."Alt...

Macao welcomes tourists from near and far ahead of Spring Festival

MACAO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinas Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) is welcoming tourists from home and abroad with festive celebrations and diverse cultural and entertainment events ahead of the coming Spring Festival.View of Macao tower at sunset. (Photo: VCG)The festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 22 this year, is the most important occasion for the Chinese to celebrate family reunions and anticipate blessings for the lunar new year.Long queues of customers lined up in front of Macaos old stores selling local specialties. Crowds of tourists filled the steps of the landmark Ruins of St. Pauls. Airliners, shipping companies, and cross-border bus operators were busy transporting travellers speaking different languages.With inbound travel restrictions further eased, the Macao SAR is welcoming a surge of tourists from near and far, including the mainland, Chinas Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan region, as well as other countries, ahead of the Spring Festival.Starting Jan. 8, no nucleic acid test results for COVID-19 are required for visitors entering Macao from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.In addition, no prior approval or quarantine is required for foreigners to enter the Macao SAR.Figures from the Macao Government Tourism Office showed that around 55,000 visitors entered Macao on Saturday, a single-day record high since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago.A tourist surnamed Du from the mainlands Sichuan Province said she and her family chose to come to Macao as soon as entry restrictions were eased."We have stayed here for four days, visiting the scenic spots and the beach. We enjoyed the citys night view very much," she told Xinhua.The Civil Aviation Authority of the Macao SAR said it had approved of applications from several airlines for resuming or increasing passenger flights.Currently, Macao is connected with 21 mainland cities, Hong Kong, one city in Taiwan and six more ci...

Asia-Pacific countries eager to welcome back Chinese tourists

Tourists from a Xiamen Airlines flight are greeted by a Thai government official as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Jan 9, after China removed COVID-19 travel restrictions. (Photo by Yang Wanli/China Daily)Nation's optimized COVID-19 policies inject impetus to regional tourismChina

Badaling Great Wall to open at night during Spring Festival holiday

Photo: CCTVBadaling Great Wall will open to the public at night during the Spring Festival holiday. Visitors can make reservations through its WeChat official account "changchengneiwai".Photo: CCTVAuthorities in charge of Badaling Great Wall will provide transport for tourists to facilitate their visit the Great Wall at night from Jan 21 to Jan 27. Buses will operate from 16:30 to 21:00. Visitors can reserve bus tickets through “changchengneiwai” as well.(Compiled by Liu Hanyi)Photo: CCTV

Switzerland's Jungfrau expects more Chinese tourists

(File photo: Xinhua)GRINDELWALD, Switzerland, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The popular scenic spot and winter sports resort, Jungfrau in Switzerland, expects to attract more Chinese tourists and sports fans in the near future.With Chinas recent optimization of its COVID-19 response and gradual restoration of Chinese citizens overseas travel, Jungfrau has prepared for a surge in Chinese tourists this ski season."Its very important to give our most valuable customers from China a very special welcome. We have carved rabbits in ice because its the Chinese Lunar [New] Year of the Rabbit. Its the first time," said Urs Kessler, chief executive officer (CEO) of Jungfraubahnen Management.As the Chinese Spring Festival is around the corner, Chinese lanterns and custom-made illuminations will also be put up at Grindelwald Terminal, a new transportation hub for the three mountains in the Jungfrau ski region, to create a festive atmosphere."I strongly believe that China has incredible potential for the future. Thats the reason why we have these promotions," Kessler said.He has even cooperated with a Chinese food company to open a noodle restaurant at the center of the Grindelwald Terminal."I think we have a great future and we received great help from Jungfrau. Weve prepared different flavored noodles for every guest from Asia," said Michael Shi, CEO of Lototravel, who opened King Noodle Bar last month in the terminal.In 2002, the Jungfrau signed a sister-mountain relationship with Huangshan, a mountain range in southern Anhui Province in east China.Jungfrau, meaning maiden or virgin in German, has long been known in China for its breathtaking view. At "Jungfraujoch -- Top of Europe," the highest railway station in Europe at the altitude of 3,454 meters above sea level, the landscape of Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy can be viewed simultaneously.To better serve the tourists, a new cableway was upgraded in...

Thailand launches new campaign to restore tourism

Bangkok (Peoples Daily) – Thailand launched a new campaign to attract international tourists on Thursday.The Southeast Asia kingdom announced that its "Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters" campaign is expected to generate a revenue of 2.38 trillion baht ($71.9 billion) from tourism in 2023, representing an 80 percent recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels.The launch of the "Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters" campaign took place in the building of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. (Photos by Li Baijia)Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said at a media conference that "The 2023 target is a result of a carefully planned strategy to continue the milestone achievement of 2022. The Visit Thailand Year 2023 campaign represents a commitment from TAT and all stakeholders in the public and private sectors as well as the Thai people to maintain tourists confidence in Thailand as a preferred tourist destination.TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn."TAT has integrated policy, planning, technology and innovation into the promotion and development of high value and sustainable tourism in Thailand. This includes elevating the tourism supply with the aim of offering experience-based tourism and leveraging the kingdoms 5F soft-power foundations -- Food, Film, Festival, Fighting and Fashion -- to strengthen its "Amazing Thailand" brand.The "Visit Thailand Year 2022" campaign was an energetic economic driver for the country. In the new year, TAT expects to welcome 25 million international tourists and inspire 250 million domestic trips in 2023. The target for overall tourism revenue is 2.38 trillion baht, comprising 670-880 billion baht from domestic tourism and 1.5 trillion baht from international tourism.

See how countries are reacting to more cross-border travel from China

China began loosening its COVID restrictions last December, which brought about a surge in COVID cases in the country. Recently China further relaxed its COVID travel requirements and lifted the mandatory quarantine, which was met with different reactions from around the world.Photo: CFPChina lifted its mandatory quarantine requirement on Sunday for travelers coming from abroad. The new policy marks a change to strict COVID measures that lasted for three years in China.Many travelers celebrated the relief of not having to go through strict quarantine requirements."I come back from England, well, my family is all here, for Chinese New Year. And it has been for three years, its been too long. Im so happy to be back, and breathe Chinese air," said Li Hua a traveler from the UK.Anita, a traveler from Poland said she was happy to visit family and return to China where she works. "I have been working in China for four years, and after three years I had a chance to go to Europe and return to Beijing without any quarantine, any restrictions, so thats all, I just visited my family and spent Christmas time in my country," she said.The loosening of COVID restrictions which started last December brought about a surge in COVID cases in China. However, the World Health Organization last week found no new variants coming from the mainland.Hans Kluge, Regional Director for the WHOs European region said no new variants are coming from China. "From the information available to WHO, the surge of two virus variants circulating in China are those that have already been seen in Europe and elsewhere," Kluge said. "We share the current view of the European Centre for Disease Control, ECDC, that an ongoing surge in China is not anticipated to significantly impact the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in the WHO European Region at this time."The loosening of cross-border travel restriction was met with mixed reactions from different cou...

Beijing confirms recovering tourism during New Year holiday

The Chinese capital Beijing saw its tourist and cultural activities bouncing back to pre-COVID-19 levels during the just-concluded three-day New Year holiday.Approximately 2.7 million people visited the city's 151 key scenic spots from Saturday to Monday, reaching 86.4 percent of the number register

China endeavors to keep ancient city of Pingyao alive


Ethiopian airlines flights to China to return to pre-COVID-19 levels

An Ethiopian Airlines plane waits to take off from the Bole International Airport in Ethiopias capital Addis Ababa. (Photo via CGTN)ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopias national flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, on Tuesday disclosed that its flights to China will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the coming months."Ethiopian Airlines, the leading airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that the frequency of its flights to Chinese cities will increase as of Feb. 6, 2023, ultimately returning to the pre-COVID-19 levels on March 1, 2023, following the lifting of restrictions by the government of China," said the Ethiopias national flag carrier in a statement Tuesday.As of Feb. 6, Ethiopian Airlines will operate daily flights to Guangzhou, the capital of south Chinas Guangdong Province, while increasing its weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai to four each and maintaining the thrice weekly operation to Chengdu, the capital of southwest Chinas Sichuan Province, it said.Starting March 1, the flights will surge back to the pre-COVID-19 levels with daily flights to Beijing and Shanghai as well as ten and four weekly flights to Guangzhou and Chengdu, respectively, the airlines said.In total, Ethiopian airlines will operate a total of 28 weekly passenger flights to China when the services are fully restored, it said.Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew hailed the plan as he emphasized that China is one of the largest markets for Ethiopian airlines outside of the African continent."We are glad that we are ramping up the frequencies of our flights to Chinese cities thanks to the easing of flight restrictions by the government of China," he said. "China is one of the largest markets for Ethiopian Airlines outside Africa, and the increase in flight frequencies will help revive the trade, investment, cultural and bilateral cooperation between Africa and China in the post-COVID-19 era."The CEO said cognizant of th...

Wanderlust unleashed after restrictions eased


COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese travelers unnecessary: Danish health authorities

Restrictions on Chinese travelers entering Denmark are unnecessary, the Danish Health Ministry said on Monday.Photo: CFP"There is no binding requirement for testing before entering Denmark from China," the ministry said following an assessment of potential COVID-19 measures.To help prevent infection, free antigen testing is being offered to those arriving in Denmark on direct flights from China.The Danish Epidemic Commission said on Monday that there is currently "no significant risk of COVID-19 spreading from China to Denmark, or significant risk of the introduction of new virus variants, as there is high population immunity in Denmark."An earlier assessment by the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the Danish national center for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, came to the same conclusion.Danish Minister of Interior and Health Sophie Lohde is expected to provide an updated report at a meeting with members of the Epidemic Committee in the Parliament on Tuesday."The government will follow the recommendations of the SSI and the Epidemic Commission," Lohde said.

Travelers hail 'smooth' arrival process

Most restrictions for passengers arriving in China lifted since SundayTravelers wait to pass through immigration checkpoints in Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday. Under Chinas optimized COVID-19 response policy, passengers arriving from abroad are no longer required to undergo quarantine and a nucleic acid test. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILYAirline passengers who arrived on the Chinese mainland on Sunday said the arrival process was smooth and fast, after the requirements of quarantine and undergoing a nucleic acid test were scrapped.Many said the optimization of Chinas COVID-19 policy was not only good news for travelers, but would also benefit businesses worldwide.On Sunday, management of the disease was downgraded from Class A to Class B, and most travel restrictions for passengers arriving in China were lifted. International travelers still need a negative nucleic acid test 48 hours before departure and have to wear protective masks onboard flights, according to the State Councils Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism.China Southern Airlines Flight CZ312, which took off from Toronto, Canada, and landed at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangdong province at 00:16 am on Sunday, was the first international flight to arrive on the mainland after the restrictions were relaxed.At Beijing Capital International Airport, Terminal 3-E and Terminal 2 reopened for international arrivals on Sunday, with passengers only needing to undergo routine customs and immigration checks.Cathy Pacific Flight CX334 from Hong Kong to Beijing became the first flight that departed from outside the mainland to land at Terminal 3-E after it was reopened.Business traveler Yao Xin, who was on the flight, couldnt hide his excitement at being able to travel to the mainland for the first time in almost three years without having to undergo quarantine."Its great to see services at the airport back to normal and airport staff no longer in white protect...

First passengers arrive after cross-border bus services resume

The first batch of 27 inbound passengers from Hong Kong arrived in Zhuhai special economic zone, Guangdong province, on a shuttle bus through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge at 00:42 on Sunday, as the mainland and the Chinese special administrative region officially resume cross-border bus services.Photo taken on Oct. 20, 2018 shows the tunnel entrance on the West Artificial Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. (Photo: Xinhua)Meanwhile six passengers from the mainland left Zhuhai for Hong Kong on a shuttle bus at 00:03 Sunday, according to Zhuhai Frontier Inspection authorities.Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, the Highway Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is the only land port that links the mainland to both Hong Kong and Macao, authorities said.Starting Sunday, the shuttle bus service between Hong Kong and Zhuhai has resumed 24-hour operation through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai shuttle bus services will soon be increased to a total of 168 a day to help meet the growing demand, as the Lunar New Year draws near.After China has optimized its COVID-19 policies beginning Sunday, none of the passengers have been required to be put under quarantine upon their arrivals in the mainland as they used to do before Sunday.And no nucleic acid testing results have been required for all inbound passengers beginning Sunday, authorities said.

Cross-Straits ferry resumes after long suspension

The ferry services between coastal areas of Fujian province on the mainland and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu resumed over the weekend after a suspension of nearly three years.Haixia, a high-speed passenger ferry sailing for Taiwan, at the Aoqian Roll-on/off Wharf in Pingtan, Fujian province. (Photo: Xinhua)A ferry departed Kinmen at 10:30 am on Saturday with 25 passengers on board for Xiamen of Fujian, and returned to Kinmen with 65 passengers at 12:30 am, completing the first round-trip.Long Mingbiao, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, and other mainland officials visited the port in Xiamen on Saturday to welcome Taiwan compatriots taking the first trip, including some officials from Kinmen, and expressed Spring Festival wishes to them.The first ferry from Matsu to Fuzhou is scheduled on Sunday morning.The ferry services, which were launched in 2001, were suspended by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party on Taiwan in February 2020 as part of COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control measures.The island authorities announced last month that the ferry journeys would resume from Jan 7 to Feb 6 so that people from Kinmen and Matsu working on the mainland can return to their hometowns during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.Current restrictions exclude Taiwan people on the mainland from taking the ferry to Kinmen or Matsu, where they can then fly back to the island of Taiwan. The DPP authorities claimed such an arrangement is necessary to address concerns over COVID-19 spreading during stopovers in Kinmen and Matsu.Many Taiwan business owners working on the mainland have complained about the limited ferry services as air tickets are difficult to book and much more expensive.Long said the ferry services have been suspended for three years, causing great inconvenience to Taiwan compatriots, and the resumption marked a small step forward, but it still falls far short of peoples expectations.As the Spring Festival is approaching, many Taiwa...

Normal cross-border travel resumes between Hong Kong and mainland 3 Photos

Normal cross-border travel resumes between Hong Kong and mainland

Normal cross-border travel between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Chinese mainland resumed on Sunday. (Photos:, compiled by Zhang Tianchen)The first train departed at 5:28 am at Mong Kok Station on the MTR East Rail Line and arrived at Lok Ma Chau Station at 6:06 am. It is estimated that more than a hundred of travelers from the SAR caught the earliest train to reach the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint at the nearby southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The opening brings the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the financial hub and the mainland and will be done in a gradual and orderly way.

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