China to resume outbound group travel

Tourists from a Xiamen Airlines flight are greeted by a Thai government official as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Jan 9, 2023 after China removed COVID-19 travel restrictions. (YANG WANLI / CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING — China will roll out a pilot program to revive the country's outbound group travel services, according to a circular released Friday by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Starting Feb 6, travel agencies and online tourism service providers in China will be permitted to provide group tours of 20 countries, including Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Russia and Cuba.

READ MORE: China's outbound tourism expects revival as curbs ease

Relevant airline ticket and hotel booking services will be resumed as well, according to the circular.

China's outbound group travel market was halted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country has optimized its epidemic response, measures have been taken to lift the restrictions on Chinese people's overseas trips and promote cross-border personnel exchanges.