China begins re-issuing various categories of visas to foreigners from today, March 15, the Chinese Embassy in the United States said on Monday, as the country continues to re-open its borders after three years of Covid-19 containment measures.
In a statement, the embassy said China will also lift visa restrictions for various locations, including Hainan Island and cruise ships passing through Shanghai port.
Visa-free entry to Guangdong for foreigners from Hong Kong and Macao will also be resumed, the embassy said.
China, which dismantled its zero-Covid-19 policy in December and opened its borders a month later, has seen a sharp increase in travel over the past two months.
"The announcement that China resumes issuing nearly all type of visas for foreigners is positive for Australian businesses whose executives would like to travel to here to visit their China-based teams, customers and suppliers and to explore new business opportunities in the mainland market," said Vaughn Barber, chairman of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in China.
Chinese events open to foreign visitors - such as the China Development Forum in Beijing later this month and the Shanghai Autoshow in April - are gradually resuming. The once-every-four-years Asian Games will also take place in the eastern city of Hangzhou in September after being postponed last year.
But prospective visitors might not immediately arrive in droves.
"In terms of tourism, China is no longer a hotspot destination," said an executive at China International Travel Services in Beijing, declining to be named.