Tour operators are once again scheduling independent and escorted itineraries to China after the country this week reopened its borders in full to tourists from around the world.
Leading tour companies including Wendy Wu Tours, Intrepid Travel and G Adventures are among those reporting significant interest among Australians eager to visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and many other popular cities across China. Attractions such as the Great Wall of China, the Bund, Terracotta Warriors and many more highlights are now available and ready to welcome back visitors.
This is the second and final phase of China’s border reopening, following the first stage in January allowing visits for business and family reunification only. Chinese embassies around the world have now resumed taking visa appointments for prospective tourists and other purposes.
In 2019, China was the fifth most popular country for Australian outbound travel, with more than 608,000 Aussies visiting in the year prior to the pandemic.
Wendy Wu Tours Founder and namesake, Wendy Wu said: “This is clearly a major milestone for tourism, and undoubtedly one of the most eagerly anticipated reopening’s for Asia tourism following the pandemic.”
Enquiries for itineraries in China with Wendy Wu Tours are up 75% in March 2023 compared to January and February this year, with Wu saying touring in China is going to be an entirely new experience.
“The country has had three years without tourism to rejuvenate and refresh and so as we begin preparations to return with Australian tourists, China is eagerly looking forward to welcoming visitors again, with a touring experience that promises to be as fresh and captivating, as one resembling 20 years ago.”
Following a full operational review, Intrepid Travel says it intends to operate its first tours in China by June 2023 but has warned prospective travellers of ongoing pre-departure testing measures for COVID-19 depending on country of departure. Only travellers returning a negative test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure will be permitted to enter China.
“Now that it is permitted, I predict that travellers will rapidly begin returning to our beautiful country and China tourism will soar once again,” said Intrepid Travel’s General Manager in China, Maggie Tian.
“With a plethora of natural and cultural diversity, I truly believe there is no travel destination quite like ours. We cannot wait to welcome back the rest of the world and support our local communities that have been patiently waiting for this day to come.”
G Adventures has confirmed it will restart tours in China from September 2023, with the company's Asia GM Julie Fitzgerald saying it was looking forward to once again offering tours in the country.
"G Adventures plans to resume its trips in China from September, when there will be more airlift available and demand for travel increases," Fitzgerald said.
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