China’s foreign arrivals still down 60% from pre-pandemic times
01/22/2024|3:12:39 PM|Travelpulse

China reopened its borders a year ago to revive international tourism. But foreign-traveler numbers remain 60% below pre-pandemic levels. 

In 2023, China saw 35.5 million foreign entries and exits, only 36% of the 97.7 million in 2019. Over half of these border crossings occurred in the last quarter of 2023, showing late-year momentum.

The number of foreign nationals residing in China is now at 85% of the end of 2019 levels. The authorities had issued foreign nationals a total of 711,000 residency permits last year.  

In a bid to boost its lagging economy, Beijing has introduced various measures to attract foreign visitors. 

In November, China expanded its visa-free entry policy to several new nations, including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. This trial program, which is set to last for 12 months, allows citizens of these nations visa-free entry for 15 days. 

In December last year, 118,000 travelers from visa-free nations entered China, mainly for tourism and business.

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