China will welcome international travellers from January 8, 2023

China is set to reopen to the rest of the world this Sunday with the resumption of quarantine-free travel in and out of the country for the first time in nearly three years.

International travellers and returning residents will be free to travel to China without the need to quarantine. Travelers will only be required to undertake a test within 48 hours before their flight. International flight bans and seat limitations will also be scrapped as part of the reopening.

Since the announcement on December 27, some countries, including Australia, the US, South Korea, and Japan, have introduced COVID testing requirements for travellers from China amid concerns of surging cases in the country. Some health experts have labelled such decisions as ‘discriminatory’.

Before the pandemic, China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market, with its tourists spending more than $127.5 billion in 2019, according to Reuters.

Between July 2018 and June 2019, travellers from China were the largest group of overseas visitors to Australia, accounting for more than 15% of arrivals (1,323,231 tourists), according to data from Tourism Research Australia.

On Thursday January 5, it was confirmed that the reopening would include travel between its special administrative region of Hong Kong, albeit in a “gradual and orderly” way, according to China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

Hong Kong leader John Lee told reporters on Thursday a maximum of 60,000 people could cross the border from either Hong Kong or China each day from January 8.