China to send tourists to Russia after record Covid outbreak

China allowed its citizens to exercise tourist trips to a number of countries, including Russia, reported correspondent of the Xinhua News Agency, citing the Ministry of Culture.

Foreign travel will be possible from 6 February. In addition to Russia, the Chinese will be able to travel to Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Egypt, Kenya, UAE, Hungary, Switzerland, New Zealand, Argentina, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Fiji and Cuba.

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia has already recorded an increase in the number of requests for tours from Chinese citizens. The first groups are expected in February-March. They noted that the flow of tourists to Russia is now “almost zero”: not only from Europe and the United States, but also from the Arab states do not go to the country. Mainly due to the fact that Visa and Mastercard cards do not work in Russia. “In favor of restoring the inbound flow from China, the fact that Russia accepts cards from the Chinese payment system UnionPay will play,” says Alexander Kurnosov, deputy director of the inbound tour operator Academservice.

Intourist said they expect a “massive tourist flow” from China in late March or early April. The operator has already formed programs: booking tours for spring and summer is in full swing, the press service said.

ATOR confirmed that The Chinese are actively interested in the summer season: “There are already a lot of applications. These are group tours. Such directions as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Murmansk, Kazan, Baikal, Vladivostok and Kamchatka are requested.

Outbound tourism in China was almost phased out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after the protests in November last year, the Chinese authorities began to relax the policy of “zero tolerance”, which provides for strict epidemiological measures. This provoked thea sharp increase in the incidence, as a result, the country’s authorities stopped publishing covid-related daily statistics.

In 20 days of December, 248 million Chinese were infected with coronavirus, and the number of new cases exceeded 37 million per day, wrote Bloomberg, citing classified data from the National Health Commission. The funeral industry in China has been paralyzed due to a sharp increase in the death rate of citizens. The crematoria switched to a round-the-clock operation, despite this, the line in them lined up for several weeks in advance.

On January 17, Chinese authorities reported the first population decline in more than 60 years. In 2022, the number of inhabitants decreased by 850 thousand people compared to the previous year and amounted to 1,411,750,000 people.

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