The Chinese are angry with South Korea and Japan

The Chinese are angry with South Korea and Japan

The Chinese are angry with South Korea and Japan

Travel restrictions imposed after borders reopened in China may apply affecting where people book trips.

But it’s not out of spite, said several Chinese travelers who spoke to CNBC.

They say it’s because some countries won’t let them in.

“I think it’s unfair”

Reactions from Chinese travelers who spoke to CNBC ranged from indifference to confusion to anger.

“Of course I think it’s unfair,” said one citizen who asked to be called Bonnie. “But at the same time, we understand what’s going on.”

So far, dozens of countries have announced it new rules for travelers leaving China. Last week, the European Union recommended that its members require Chinese travelers to undergo Covid tests before entering.

New Covid rules are making some Chinese travelers choose Plan B destinations

But Covid testing is not a problem, Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, told Squawk Box Asia on Monday.. The point is that “this policy is only aimed at mainland China,” he said.

South African Mansoor Mohamed, who lives in China, agreed. “It’s relatively easy and cheap to do a Covid test in China, so it won’t affect my travel planning,” he said.

However, I know that many patriotic Chinese colleagues and friends will avoid these countries for the time being because the practice of testing only passengers arriving from China is discriminatory,” he said.

Of course, China requires travelers to test negative before entering China, and they do so for three years.

The difference, said Mohamed, is that “every arrival [to China]including Chinese nationals… [is] are subject to the same rules.”

Where are the Chinese going

Gao Dan told CNBC that she plans to leave Qinghai Province for the first time in more than two years. However, she said she was staying in China, adding that she “didn’t check what the travel rules of other countries are,” according to CNBC’s translation.

Others book trips abroad, but some do not book trips to first-choice destinations such as Japan and South Korea.

One traveler named Bonnie told CNBC that her friends in China were going to Thailand rather than South Korea, even though they “wouldn’t consider Thailand before.”

Tuul & Bruno Morandi | Image Bank | Getty Images

“When China said they were opening their borders in January, all my friends said they were going to Japan and Korea,” Bonnie said.

But they couldn’t get visas, she said. “So they’re going to Thailand now.”

Rein said Chinese travelers are now heading to Singapore and Thailand because “both countries welcome us.”

Of the top destinations searched by Chinese citizens after the announcement of the reopening of borders, there are only two that have not imposed new restrictions on incoming Chinese travellers.

According to data from Trip.com Group, interest in searching for outbound flights from mainland China increased by 83% in the 11 days after the announcement, compared with 14 days earlier.

According to the company, interest in searching for Thailand and Singapore increased by 176% and 93%, respectively, during this period.

More angry with some than others

Restrictions on Chinese travelers will 'hit' Japanese stocks, says market research firm

The Japanese Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A representative from the Japanese embassy in Singapore told CNBC that Japan is processing Chinese travel visa applications as usual.

Citing discrepancies in information about infections from China, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on December 27: “To avoid a surge in new cases entering the country, we are focusing efforts on entry and airport inspections,” according to an article published by Nikkei Asia.

Both Japan and South Korea have adopted a conservative stance towards the Covid pandemic.

Japan, in particular, has been slow to return to pre-pandemic life, with residents showing little enthusiasm when its own borders reopened in October 2022.

“Political Issue”

Rein told Squawk Box Asia that the regulations are not just about tourism.

“It’s a political issue,” he said, adding that he expects Japanese stocks to be affected by highlighting the two names of cosmetics.

Read more about reopening China

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