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China's back

Hope you have been enjoying Uncrowded Europe, and you already got your selfie with the Mona Lisa. Next time that might be more difficult.

China has announced plans to loosen its pandemic travel restrictions beginning January 8 (no more strict quarantine requirements for arriving international visitors or returning residents). After the announcement, travel booking sites reported an immediate and dramatic surge in bookings from Chinese residents who have been itching to travel but were unable to do so for almost three years. Surprise, they had the same itch we all did (and theirs has gone unscratched a lot longer). With the Chinese government's rapid policy switch from "Zero COVID" to "Let It Rip" there's a lot of pent-up demand (there's also a lot of questions about the scope and nature of the current wave of COVID burning through China...I wish them luck and am hoping for the best, but they may be in for some dark times in the weeks ahead).

While the most popular international destinations for Chinese travelers are typically Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, anyone who has visited Europe in The Before Times knows that European destinations are also favorites. Earlier today, the French Embassy in China posted to social media, “Chinese friends, France welcomes you with open arms!”

BBC: Covid in China: People rush to book travel as borders finally reopen

So laissez le bon temps rouler!  and party like it's 2019. However, worth noting: several countries (USA, Japan, and others) either have already announced or are considering imposing new travel restrictions on passengers arriving from China (typically mandatory COVID testing pre-departure or on arrival). Lets hope we're not going to find it necessary to revisit that part of the pandemic response.

Me, I'll be booking places that are not quite so centered in the crosshairs of mass tourism, wherever the people are coming from.

Posted by
15530 posts

The USA and Italy are requiring negative tests. The UK said they have no plans to reintroduce testing.

Posted by
4528 posts

It's interesting how these things work, everyone complained about the Americans until the Japanese showed up, until the Chinese showed up. Or in some locations the Indians. It's always somebody.

I think I heard the US is putting restrictions on the Chinese now.

Posted by
1567 posts

This, along with the pent up desire of so many Americans to visit Europe in 2023 has me avoiding Europe this coming year and instead heading for Africa and S America.

Posted by
11373 posts

China having rampant outbreaks of covid makes having them visiting as tourists a really BAD idea.

I certainly hope stringent requirements are imposed on allowing those coming from China into the US and Europe and elsewhere.

.Does anyone really want to go back to 2020, with everything shut down and the nightmare travel was ? No haircuts for 3-4 months?

Posted by
3954 posts

China was a ticking time bomb, who knows what kind of variants are circulating there. Let us hope and pray this doesn't send us back to March 2020.

Posted by
6113 posts

Unless every country imposes restrictions on Chinese travellers by requesting negative testing, it is going to be a step backwards, as once the germs are out, it’s going to be difficult to control the spread. Even if America introduces testing for the Chinese and Europe and Asia don’t, then it’s not going to take long to reach America.

Goodness knows about the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccinations.

It’s just changed my plans for a SE Asia holiday next year.

Posted by
6788 posts

Now two days later, more countries are requiring travelers departing China to show a negative COVID test prior to boarding their outbound flight or upon arrival.

Among the nations imposing some restrictions so far (either announced or already being required): USA, Japan, South Korea, Italy, UK, France, Spain, Israel, India, and probably some more by the time you read this. Germany has said they want to "coordinate" their policy with other EU members.

Posted by
7050 posts

COVID is already in the US and we have a ~70% vaccination rate to boot (nothing to brag about, especially the pathetically low uptake of boosters). I don't think there's any point in testing one country's citizens when there is plenty of covid to circulate right here in the US. Italy has already done some tests on incoming Chinese visitors and found Omicron, not some new strain.

Posted by
471 posts

We were fortunate to visit Europe twice since Covid. We both stayed well and so enjoyed the lesser crowds. I can only imagine how people from China are more than ready to travel! Seeing the testing requirements for them visiting countries now….Might it make some hesitant to plan a trip yet for the near future? I also do hope the testing used is highly effective! I am trying to be kind.
We have a July 2023 Med trip planned. It’s the only time we can go with our family group for an extended time. I know it will be hot and crowded….but so hope not record breaking pent up crowds!! This trip has been has been planned a couple of years. Trying to be remain positive.

Posted by
18503 posts

I just dont know. A lot of reasons to stay out of Europe in 2023

The War(s) - wait for it
No energy, no lights, cold rooms (or hot)
World Wide Recession
New COVID strains coming out of Asia
Too Many Tourists
So much closed due to failure during COVID
Soaring airline costs
Soaring hotel costs
World Wide Grain Shortages
Worldwide shortage of Plain M&M's
Global Climate Change
Rising sea levels
Bad flight food
Nuclear Fallout from damaged reactors
Nuclear Fallout from nuclear weapons
Accommodation shortages due to migration
Accommodation shortages due to refugees
Fascist governments in the EU and elsewhere

I will still go, but I am going to limit it to no more than 5 trips no longer than 35 days each.

Posted by
960 posts

PSA: This forum is deeply concerned about the worldwide shortage of plain M&M's.


Posted by
4284 posts

I think I will just stay home, if I can’t find plain m&ms….. I mean, what’s the point in traveling if without? 🤣

And I just spent 2 days in Segovia, where I encountered several tour groups from China - although they seemed to be smaller groups than in years past. And one group in Toledo today. It’s a real change from the past 2 years.

Posted by
471 posts

Curious if Chinese tourism is back in Europe. Lost track of any restrictions in recent months.