China to resume outbound tours to select countries on pilot basis
The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced that Chinese travel agencies and online tour operators can restart providing pilot outbound group tours.
As per a ministerial notice issued on January 20, 2023, national travel agencies and online travel companies can resume operating outbound group tours and "air ticket + hotel" business for Chinese citizens to relevant countries from February 6. According to the notice, the motivation behind this decision is to “to promote the recovery and development of the tourism industry.”
Chinese travel agencies will be able to open outbound group travel for Chinese citizens to 20 countries – Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba, and Argentina.
The notice lays out requirements for safety and epidemic control, promoting and advocating the concept of "everyone is the first person responsible for their own health", guiding travel agencies to strictly abide by epidemic prevention requirements of their country and destination countries, and reminding tourists to do self-monitoring before travel.
It adds that “all localities should guide travel agencies to strictly implement the various systems and norms of group travel management, sign travel contracts with tourists in accordance with the law, clarify the rights and responsibilities of all parties, and properly handle travel-related disputes in a timely manner.”
Lastly, it stipulates that "all localities must strictly require travel agencies to effectively implement the 'one group, one report' system, and promptly and accurately report outbound travel group information on the national tourism supervision service platform.” Travel agencies and online travel companies are not allowed to carry out any business in violation of the schedule or beyond the scope of the country list.