China woos foreign tourists with visa-free policy, but will they come back?
12/04/2023|7:21:31 PM|Straitstimes

China announced a year-long visa-free policy for visitors from several countries, aiming to ease travel and boost inbound tourism. 

In the first half of 2023, travel agencies received 477,800 inbound tourists, compared with more than 8.56 million for the same period in 2019, according to statistics released by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

But even with the visa waiver now, the resurgence in China's inbound tourism still faces hurdles, including limited flight availability, reduced spending power due to global inflation, and geopolitical tensions. 

International flights to China are only at 57% of their pre-pandemic capacity, and Western countries' economic downturns post-pandemic have decreased disposable incomes for travel. 

Geopolitical issues and recent health scares in China have dampened tourism, with travelers having many other global options for leisure.

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