According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is increasing in China and the country is set to become the world’s largest tourist destination by the year 2020. The Chinese government is opening more attractions and regions in the country to foreign tourists. Even though tourism in the country is opening up it can still be challenge to travel in the country due to language barriers and travel restrictions. Today most travelers opt for guided tours.
What Vaccinations will I Need to Travel to China?
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends travelers get vaccinated for the following diseases before traveling to China:
Hepatitis A – this disease is spread through contaminated food, water, or contact with an infected person. This vaccine is especially recommended if you plan to sample some of the many street food offerings during your travels.
Hepatitis B – is a serious liver disease that can be spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, sexual intercourse, and the use of an infected piercing tool or needle.
Rabies – Travelers to China should be vaccinated against rabies as the country has one of the highest numbers of reported cases of rabies in the world. Rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal.
Japanese Encephalitis – This disease is prevalent in most Asian countries. Vaccination is recommended for travelers who plan to spend time in the southern parts of China where irrigation is still done through flooding or travelers who plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Polio – China has not had a reported case of polio since 1994 but the country borders on Pakistan and Afghanistan where the polio virus is still epidemic.
Are there Other Infections I should Know About?
Travelers should be aware mosquitoes carrying the Malaria virus have been found in the Yunnan Province near the China and Myanmar border. The risk is low to most travelers.
Avian Influenza has been reported in humans since 2013 in China. Most cases of the avian influenza have occurred in the southern and eastern parts of China including Taiwan and Hong Kong. Two travelers from Canada were reported to have contracted the virus after a trip to China in 2015.
How Safe is China
Travel is relatively safe in China. The risk of violent crime is very low in China as is the chance of being robbed or raped. Travelers should be aware pick pocketing is very common in tourist destinations and at transit stations.
Train stations and subways have bag scanners and police at the gates to scan bags for sharp objects and check the content of water bottles. For the most part, officials are checking for domestic terrorism threats.
Domestic terrorism is a concern in the westernmost part of China in the Xinjiang Uyghur region where political and religious unrest has led to violence in recent years.
The biggest threat to travelers in China is the traffic. Cars have the right of way in China, exercise caution when crossing streets. Ask for a business card from your hotel in both Chinese and English to help you get back to the hotel if you become lost.
A travel specialist at Markham Travel Health can help answer all of your questions about your trip to China.