Nearly two years after they closed borders to visitors, New Zealand has announced it will reopen borders to visitors vaccinated against Covid-19 in the opening months of 2022.
The move comes as the country moves away from a ‘zero-Covid-19’ strategy and begins cautiously reopening to the world.
The border will initially open to New Zealand citizens and visa holders coming from Australia, then from the rest of the world. Finally the country will welcome all other vaccinated visitors from the end of April, outlining a cautious easing of coronavirus border curbs that have been in place for nearly two years.
Guests will still have to self-isolate at home for a week, but will no longer have to pass through managed isolation facilities.
Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern also confirmed that residents of Auckland will be able to leave the city from mid-December after months of Covid-19 lockdown travel restrictions. New Zealanders can travel home from Australia without staying in managed isolation from January 17th. They can come from all other countries from February 14th.
After that, fully vaccinated people, including international tourists, will be able to travel to New Zealand from the end of April. Countries classed as “very high risk” will be excepted from that.
Before the pandemic, tourism was a big part of the New Zealand economy, employing nearly 230,000 people and contributing 41.9 billion New Zealand dollars ($30.2 billion) a year. About 3.8 million foreign tourists visited between 2018 and 2019, with the majority coming from Australia. Though domestic tourism has surged while borders have been closed, the industry has struggled to make up its losses, as international tourists spend about three times as much per person as their domestic peers.