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Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists expected to return to Burma, states tour operators

The Shweli border gate at the China-Burma border reopened on Jan. 8. Photo courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Myanmar 

Travel agencies in Burma estimate that tens of thousands of Chinese tourists will enter the country in 2023 as Beijing has dropped its Zero-COVID policy of lockdowns and have allowed Chinese to travel abroad. “Authorities need to ease air travel between two countries. At the moment, we only fly to two major cities in China. Before COVID-19, there were almost 10 flights [from Burma to China] as well as charter flights. If we have those conditions, many Chinese travelers will come,” said the owner of a Burma-based travel agency. 

The junta’s Ministry of Health claims that existing COVID-19 travel requirements in Burma will prevent a flood of new cases this year. “Travel restrictions regarding [COVID-19] health matters in our country are still among the [strictest] in ASEAN. Other countries don’t require COVID-19 vaccine certificates, but it is needed here. Above all, we have mandated health insurance as the Ministry of Health requires this to provide health care to travelers. I think we will still have these restrictions on health issues as we can control the disease from overseas entries,” a source from the Ministry of Health told DVB. Thai officials estimate that nearly one million Chinese tourists have entered Thailand since China relaxed its travel restrictions. Around 4.3 million Chinese tourists entered Burma before the COVID-19 pandemic and 1.9 million of them entered via the China-Burma border, according to travel agencies.

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