China is set to allow foreign tourists back in the country for the first since COVID-19 broke out three years ago, which includes issuing visas to foreign travelers.
The news comes as Beijing has apparently declared victory over the virus and subsequently abandoned its zero-COVID strategy that has significantly damaged the economy, according to the BBC.
According to the recent change, foreign offices are permitted to start processing applications for Chinese visas starting March 15, and visa-free entry into the Eastern country will resume in Shanghai and Hainan for cruise ships.
The removal of the last cross-border restrictions goes a long way in attempting to establish pre-pandemic life in China.
Tour groups from Macau and Hong Kong will also get back their visa-free privilege, according to the report. In addition, valid visas that were issued before China closed itself off to the world on March 28, 2020 will also be honored.
Historically, China has played host to tens of millions of tourists every year prior to the pandemic, and its tourism industry has been dashed by the country’s anti-COVID measures.
China has also given citizens the ability to travel with tour groups across 60 countries, which was limited to 20 in times past.
According to the report, China noted that its gross domestic product grew by just 3 percent in 2022, the worst growth in nearly 50 years.