Relaxed controls to unleash potential in culture, tourism

By CHENG SI (China Daily) 10:20, January 13, 2023

Tourists admire a 3-meter-tall ice sculpture in the shape of a dragon-riding rabbit at Longqing Gorge in Beijing on Jan 11, 2023. The scenic area kicked off an ice lantern carnival ahead of the upcoming Year of the Rabbit. [Photo by Pan Zhiwang/For China Daily]

Scenic spots to operate as normal with some virus safety measures remaining

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism scrapped eight guidelines related to COVID-19 controls on Wednesday, requiring local authorities to ensure the normal operation of cultural and tourist activities and traveler mobility under the recently optimized COVID-19 policies.

The eight previous guidelines listed COVID-19 control requirements for travel agencies, entertainment venues and tourist attractions, as well as libraries. For example, travel agencies were not allowed to organize group tours to destinations with high infection risks, nor receive tour groups from those places.

Under the new guideline, the ministry said that the tourism and cultural industries have already seen positive results.

It said that the government's focus is on switching from eliminating infections to protecting health and preventing severe infections, following the downgrading of COVID-19 management earlier this month.

The ministry emphasized in the guideline that the downgrading of management aims to control the epidemic in a more scientific, precise and effective way, which can better balance epidemic control and socioeconomic development.

Under the guideline, local authorities are required to plan epidemic containment in accordance with the new national-level policy, but may take temporary control measures in case of a severe outbreak. Local authorities should help tourist and cultural site operators undertake regular epidemic prevention measures, such as wearing masks and carrying out regular disinfection, to lower the risk of infection.

It also stated that cultural and tourism bureaus at all levels should gain a better understanding of the downgraded management policy. It's necessary to spread awareness of epidemic prevention via online platforms including websites, WeChat accounts and apps to explain the changes to the public.

The ministry stressed that tourist and cultural operators should make sure their employees follow epidemic prevention rules and make a habit of washing their hands and wearing masks, and that proper training should be carried out.

Cultural and tourism bureaus at all levels are required to supervise public cultural and tourism organizations and operators and help correct improper behavior in the process of implementing the optimized COVID-19 control measures.

Earlier this month, Hu Heping, minister of culture and tourism, said at a video conference that the nation's epidemic prevention and control work has entered a new period, which requires more scientific and precise measures and policies to protect people's health and lives, and also to minimize the side effects the epidemic has brought to tourism and cultural industries.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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