China may be reopening, with its millions of would-be tourists and other global travelers freed of nearly all Covid-19 restrictions, but many of the countries that had been waiting desperately for the return of all those lovely tourist dollars are now keeping a wary foot behind the door, if not slamming it shut.
China has announced that it would eliminate its quarantine requirement for arrivals as of January 8, making it easier for its citizens to travel overseas after almost three years of absolute isolation.
However, the world’s welcome mats have not been rolled out as swiftly as returning travelers had planned, purportedly because the coronavirus is now widespread in the world’s most populated nation.
Given that most populations appear to be infected with Covid and have mostly abandoned testing, it may look unfair to target only the Chinese (including arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau).
According to recent statistics from Trip.com, China’s most desired destination for a return trip is Japan. However, on December 30, Tokyo implemented emergency Covid-19 procedures that require passengers from mainland China to be swabbed upon arrival and quarantined for a week if they test positive.
At the time of writing, Singapore has not imposed any limitations on Chinese tourists. Having gotten its house in order to care for possibly ill visitors, Singapore will likely be a winner when Chinese tourists resume spending their money again.
Ultimately, Chinese visitors are likely to recall who made them feel welcome and who did not long after any reimposed Covid restrictions have been lifted.
After reopening, it’s reasonable to expect that the Hong Kong-China border will rapidly become bustling, although it may take longer for tourists from farther afield to return in large numbers to China.
Places such as Dazhai, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Jingzhu, Chongqing, which are both on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s list of the greatest tourism villages of 2022, may appeal when the crowds of the Bund and the Forbidden Palace diminish.