WELLINGTON – New Zealand welcomed vacationers from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Japan and greater than 50 different international locations for the primary time in additional than two years Monday after dropping most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions.
The nation has lengthy been famend for its breathtaking surroundings and journey tourism choices reminiscent of bungy leaping and snowboarding. Earlier than the unfold of COVID-19, greater than 3 million vacationers visited annually, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s overseas earnings and greater than 5% of the general economic system.
However worldwide tourism stopped altogether in early 2020 after New Zealand imposed a number of the world’s hardest border restrictions.
The border guidelines remained in place as the federal government at first pursued an elimination technique after which tried to tightly management the unfold of the virus. The unfold of omicron and vaccinations of greater than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million inhabitants prompted the gradual easing of restrictions.
New Zealand reopened to vacationers from Australia three weeks in the past and on Monday to about 60 visa-waiver international locations, together with a lot of Europe. Most vacationers from India, China and different non-waiver international locations are nonetheless not allowed to enter.
Vacationers will should be vaccinated and to check themselves for the virus earlier than and after arriving.
“At the moment is a day to rejoice, and is an enormous second in our reconnection with the world,” mentioned Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.
At Auckland Airport, flights bringing in vacationers started touchdown from early within the morning, coming in direct from locations together with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.
The border reopening will assist enhance tourism forward of New Zealand’s upcoming ski season. However the actual take a look at of how a lot the tourism trade rebounds will are available in December, when the height summer season season begins within the Southern Hemisphere nation.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned greater than 90,000 individuals had booked flights to New Zealand within the seven weeks for the reason that reopening was introduced and 21 worldwide flights had been scheduled to land Monday in Auckland.
“Our tourism trade have felt the results of the worldwide pandemic acutely, and are working arduous to arrange,” she mentioned.
Ardern mentioned there have been no rapid plans to ease virus testing and vaccination necessities for vacationers.
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