Beijing states that various countries are ”taking discriminatory entry restriction measures targeting China” after the country saw a rapid decline in COVID-19 cases and opened up to foreign countries. Chinese governmental authorities announced that the country would “take reciprocal measures” in cases of foreigners’ entries into China. Post-COVID Chinese travelers are now facing entry restrictions in destination countries despite Chinese official reports that the country had passed the peak of the infectious wave to witness a reduction in COVID cases.

Response measures:

This was the reason for the recent suspensions of visa issuance for South Korean and Japanese tourists wishing to visit China, marking the first response measure taken by Chinese authorities against countries imposing COVID requirements on Chinese visitors. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the countries should “make sure that their COVID response measures are fact-based, science-based and proportionate,” indicating that these “should not be discriminatory and should not affect normal cross-border travel.”

Macau best positioned:

These reciprocal measures may affect Chinese gambling travels to South Korean casinos during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, and may result in increased visits to less-strict regions, such as Macau and the Philippines. Macau seems best positioned ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations as it lifted all testing requirements for entrants from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on January 8th. Also, Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said that the government would not impose travel restrictions on Chinese travelers.

Singapore and Vietnam have lifted COVID-related border restrictions to resume and ramp up flights to mainland China as the Chinese New Year is getting closer. On the other hand, Malaysia is planning to install separate arrival zones for travelers from China, with a rapid antigen test and a quarantine for suspected individuals included in the measure.

Zero-policy stimulated economic growth:

China has recently opened up but continues to implement its zero-COVID policy. Foreign Ministry spokesperson justified the three-year lasting policy stating: “It was exactly because of the dynamic zero-COVID policy that China became the first major economy in the world to register positive economic growth in 2020”. The spokesperson added that “China’s COVID situation is improving and some provinces and cities have gone through the infection peak.”

CNY to bring economic benefit:

Despite these words, some countries have chosen to implement stringent testing measures for Chinese visitors. But countries like Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines prefer to balance these measures to enable undisturbed visits to and from China ahead of the holiday. The festive season is likely to fill entertainment and casino facilities in these regions and propel economic benefits of all the countries recording a growing number of passengers preparing for the Chinese New Year celebrations.