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.

First day of China's Spring Festival travel rush sees over 34 million passenger trips

More than 34.7 million passenger trips were made across China on Saturday, the first day of this years 40-day Spring Festival travel rush which lasts until February 15. Passengers prepare to board a train in Suzhou Railway Station in Suzhou, east Chinas Jiangsu Province, January 7, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)The total is up 38.9 percent over the same period last year but 48.6 percent down compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

China's ice-snow tourism expects over 520 million tourists by 2025

By the end of the 2024-2025 ice and snow season, Chinas ice and snow leisure tourism sector is expected to receive over 520 million visitors, with its revenue exceeding 720 billion yuan ($104.5 billion), marking the sector a core development engine for winter tourism and ice and snow economy.Two women celebrate New Year on the frozen lake of the Summer Palace in Beijing. (Photo: China Daily)The estimated data were released by the China Tourism Academy in its annual report on Chinas ice and snow tourism development.According to the report, China saw 344 million tourists in the sector during the 2021-2022 ice and snow season, raking in 474 billion yuan, and the sector is currently undergoing a positive growth momentum.Thanks to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, policy innovations, and promotion by governments at all levels, the ice and snow tourism has injected vitality into traditional folk customs across the country, making the tourism options and consumption scenarios of the sector much more diverse, according to Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy.From 2016 to 2022, China invested about 2.88 trillion yuan in its infrastructure projects for ice and snow tourism. As of the end of 2022, nearly 9,000 relevant enterprises had registered in the ice and snow sector. In 2022 alone, 1,460 were newly added, up 20.1 percent year on year, said the report."As the consumption potentials of the domestic market continue to be released and the long-distance ice and snow tourism recovers, the number of Chinas ice and snow leisure tourists is expected to exceed 300 million in the 2022-2023 ice and snow season," said Han Yuanjun with the academy.

Beijing airport reopens for international arrival

Terminal 3-E of the Beijing Capital International Airport reopened for international arrival on Sunday after passengers arriving in China from abroad no longer required to quarantine or undergo nucleic acid test.Passengers wait to pass the security check at the airport in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 18, 2012. (Photo: Xinhua)Meanwhile, services for international arrival at Terminal 2 at the airport have also resumed. Passengers can exit the airport as the same way as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the airport.Inbound passengers were entering Beijing via Terminal 3-D at the airport since March 10, 2020, where they underwent nucleic acid test and were taken to quarantine facilities. Operations in Terminal 3-D have been temporarily suspended from Sunday.Passengers will still need a negative nucleic acid test 48 hours before departure and have to wear protective masks onboard flights, according to the requirements from the State Councils Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism.

China welcomes first arrivals following lifting of COVID restrictions

The first flights under Chinas new "no quarantine" rules for international travelers landed at airports in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern Guangdong Province early on Sunday morning, the national customs authority said. File photo shows a passenger plane at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in south Chinas Guangdong Province. (Photo: Xinhua)Officials said 387 passengers were aboard two flights from Toronto and Singapore on the day the country ended its strict COVID-19 restrictions for travelers.They said the flights arrived just after midnight, and all passengers had completed customs clearance procedures by 1:32 a.m.China announced in December that it was lifting COVID-19 restrictions that mandated international arrivals to undergo nucleic acid tests and quarantine.Inbound travelers only need to take a PCR test within 48 hours before departure, and they no longer need to apply for a health code from Chinese diplomatic and consular missions.

Revival in China's domestic and outbound tourism expected after COVID policy shift

China removed certain COVID-19 restrictions on international passenger flights on Sunday, with domestic and international tourism expected to pick up steam as the Spring Festival holiday approaches. Tourists look at ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice-Snow World theme park in Harbin, northeast Chinas Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 5, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)Measures will be taken to ensure that freight at various ports will return to pre-epidemic levels as soon as possible and that outbound tourism for Chinese citizens will be resumed in an orderly manner, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.The optimized policies and measures include the resumption of accepting and approving Chinese citizens applications for ordinary passports for tourism purposes and visiting friends abroad.China also optimized its regulations on travel between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao, according to a statement of the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. International travelers will be able to enter the mainland via Hong Kong and Macao, and restrictions on the passenger load factor for flights between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao will be lifted, according to the document.According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Monday, China saw about 52.7 million domestic tourist visits during the previous three-day New Year holiday, up 0.44 percent year on year.The tourism revenue generated over the holiday exceeded 26.5 billion yuan (about $3.8 billion), up 4 percent from the same period last year, according to the ministry."The national culture and tourism market is generally safe, smooth and orderly," the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.Short-distance tours are trendy among travelers during the holiday period, with sustained popularity for ice and snow activities and camping among young people, according to the ministry. The data also shows a steady recovery in the countrys medium- and long-distance travel, with some online t...

Maritime travel to and from Taiwan region reopened for Chinese mainland

File photo: CCTV NewsThe maritime passenger routes between Fujian Provinces coastal areas and Kinmen and Matsu, which had been suspended for nearly three years, have been partially reopened to meet demand among local residents to return home during the Spring Festival holiday.

Macao further eases inbound travel restrictions

MACAO, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) will further ease travel restrictions on inbound visitors, starting Sunday, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center of Macao said on Thursday. No nucleic acid test results for COVID-19 will be required for v

Opening ceremony of the 39th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 5 Photos

Opening ceremony of the 39th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

The opening ceremony of the 39th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival was held on Thursday. The performances in the ceremony included a collaboration between figure skaters and drones, an ice ballet, and ice lanterns. The ceremony told the story of the past 60 years of ice and snow history in Harbin. (Photos: CFP, compiled by Wu Meixuan)The festival focuses on three chapters: Meet in the Ice City, Ice and Snow Songs, and Charm of Spring Snow. It features main tourist attractions including the Ice Lantern Art Fair in Zhaolin Park, Ice and Snow World, Sun Island, Yabuli Ski Resort, Ice and Snow Carnival, Sunac Snow Park, Volga Manor and Polar Park. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is a significant celebration that has worldwide recognition. International and local tourists attend the event annually. With its colorful culture, Harbin has contributed to athletes excelling in winter sports and encouraged people to take part in ice and snow activities.

Passenger volume exceeds 9 million on China-Laos Railway

File photo: CGTNKUNMING, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Since its launch in December 2021, the China-Laos Railway had handled over 9 million passenger trips as of Thursday, said the China Railway Kunming Group Co., Ltd.Some 7.54 million passenger trips were registered in the railways China section, while about 1.46 million were logged in its Laos section.Since the beginning of 2023, the railway has seen a growing momentum in its passenger volume, with its average daily dispatched number of passengers reaching 29,000, which almost doubled compared with the same period in 2022.The China section has added multiple-unit trains to 20 pairs daily on average to meet the increasing passenger travel demand, said the group.As a landmark project of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, the 1,035-km China-Laos Railway connects Kunming, capital of southwest Chinas Yunnan Province, with the Laotian capital Vientiane.

Visas for Chinese mainland residents to Hong Kong will resume on January 8

On January 5, Chinas Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council issued a notice to resume transfer/transit services at Hong Kong and Macao International airports to the Chinese mainland from 2023.Skyline of Hong Kong, China. (Photo: CFP)The passenger load factor restrictions on flights between Hong Kong and Macau to and from the mainland are canceled, and the number of flights will be gradually increased in an orderly manner.The visa application for Mainland residents traveling to Hong Kong for tourism and business purposes will be resumed.The notice will take effect on January 8, 2023.

Thailand vows to treat foreign visitors with equality

BANGKOK, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Foreign visitors entering Thailand from all parts of the world including China will be treated equally and in accordance with scientific standards, Thai public health officials said on Wednesday.The Red Lotus Sea in Thailand is best witnessed between November and late February. (Photo: CFP)In line with the current guidelines, which consider COVID-19 a communicable disease under surveillance, no special public health measures would be implemented to discourage travelers from any particular country, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a statement.The countrys disease prevention and control policies were based on academic principles and conformed to world standards, Anutin said.A new set of COVID-19 preventive measures will be finalized at a meeting on Thursday between officials from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The proposed requirements would require foreign travelers entering Thailand to have at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Anutin said, adding that the purchase of travel insurance covering COVID-19 treatment would also be required before entering the kingdom.Thailands tourism body expects about 300,000 tourists from China to visit Thailand in the first quarter of this year after China reopens its border on Jan. 8.

Türkiye eager to welcome back Chinese tourists

ANKARA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- "We expect the return of the Chinese visitors to be in a gradual manner, especially with a dynamic after the first half of this year, thus we can reach pre-pandemic levels," said Irfan Karsli, head of the Istanbul-based Ligarba Travel Agency.The Yeni Cami in Istanbul (Photo: CFP)As China is expected to orderly resume outbound tourism amidst the optimization of COVID-19 response, Turkish tourism industry players are eager to welcome back Chinese travelers.Chinese groups will start to come to Türkiye in April, Karsli said, calling on Turkish Airlines to increase the current frequency of 28 flights per week from Chinese cities.He said that Chinas latest optimization of COVID-19 response is expected to eventually bring a high number of tourists to Türkiye, which will help boost the countrys economy."Türkiye has to make sure to offer suitable and high-quality services to Chinese visitors, with tourist guides who speak fluently their language, and offer an honest and ethical approach to them," the professional added.In 2019, Türkiye received over 420,000 Chinese tourists, and hopes are high among tourism professionals for a repetition of the number as soon as possible.Türkiyes Cappadocia region with its valleys featuring natural rock formations, fairy chimneys and hot-air balloon tours used to be a hotspot for Chinese tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic.Local sector representatives are expecting Chinese visitors return in 2023, especially on the occasion of the Lunar New Year in January."Cappadocia is a very well-known destination for Chinese tourists, its the biggest destination after Istanbul, Türkiyes cultural hub," Halis Aydogan, a balloon pilot and an official of Pasha Balloon Tours, told Xinhua.Mehmet Dinler, chairman of the board of Royal Balloon, a hot-air balloon rides company, told Xinhua that they have started developing new rides for Chinese tourists."We are trying to...

Sri Lanka allows foreign visitors to pay in US dollar to enter national parks

COLOMBO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka said on Wednesday foreign tourists visiting the countrys national parks could buy tickets in the U.S. dollar from this month on, in order to give them a better sight-seeing experience and increase its foreign currency income.File photo: VCGIn a statement, the government information department said the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation has approved the new policy, which will apply first to the popular Yala National Park before it is expanded to other wildlife parks.Sri Lanka, home to a high density of leopards, has several national parks that offer safaris for tourists.It is also a well-known home for elephants, sloth bears, water buffalos, and saltwater crocodiles among other species.

Potala Palace to reopen to the public

LHASA, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The iconic Potala Palace in southwest Chinas Tibet Autonomous Region will reopen to the public on Tuesday after being closed for more than four months due to the COVID-19 epidemic.File photo: CGTNVisitors to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, will enter free of charge until March 15, with online reservations required one day in advance, according to an announcement issued Sunday by the administration of the palace.The palace will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every day.The Potala Palace is a model of ancient architecture and home to over 100,000 cultural relics.It was built by Tibetan King Songtsa Gambo in the seventh century and expanded in the 17th century by the fifth Dalai Lama. The palace was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.

Snow, ice tourism heats up during New Year holiday


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