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Saturday, December 03, 2022

New Zealand welcomes back tourists as pandemic rules ease

WELLINGTON, New Zealand ( Associated Press) – New Zealand has welcomed tourists from the US, Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years, after most remaining pandemic border restrictions have been lifted.

The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungee jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and over 5% of the overall economy.

But international tourism came to a complete halt in early 2020 when New Zealand imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world.

The border rules remained in place as the government first adopted an elimination strategy and then tried to strictly control the spread of the virus. The spread of omicrons and vaccination of more than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million population led to a gradual easing of restrictions.

New Zealand reopened three weeks ago to tourists from Australia and on Monday to about 60 visa-exempt countries, including Europe. Most tourists from India, China and other non-pardonable countries are still not allowed to enter.

Epidemic border restrictions.

The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungee jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and over 5% of the overall economy.

But international tourism came to a complete halt in early 2020 when New Zealand imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world.

The border rules remained in place as the government first adopted an elimination strategy and then tried to strictly control the spread of the virus. The spread of omicrons and vaccination of more than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million population led to a gradual easing of restrictions.

New Zealand reopened three weeks ago to tourists from Australia and on Monday to about 60 visa-exempt countries, including Europe. Most tourists from India, China and other non-pardonable countries are still not allowed to enter.

Epidemic border restrictions.

The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungee jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and over 5% of the overall economy.

But international tourism came to a complete halt in early 2020 when New Zealand imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world.

The border rules remained in place as the government first adopted an elimination strategy and then tried to strictly control the spread of the virus. The spread of omicrons and vaccination of more than 80% of New Zealand’s 5 million population led to a gradual easing of restrictions.

New Zealand reopened three weeks ago to tourists from Australia and on Monday to about 60 visa-exempt countries, including Europe. Most tourists from India, China and other non-pardonable countries are still not allowed to enter.

New Zealand Welcomed Tourists From The Us, Canada, Britain, Japan And More Than 50 Other Countries For The First Time In More Than Two Years As It Lifted Most Of Its Remaining Pandemic Border Restrictions.
New Zealand welcomed tourists from the US, Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years as it lifted most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions.

Associated Press. via Jade Bradley / The New Zealand Herald

Tourists will need to be vaccinated and test themselves for the virus before and after arrival.

“Today is a day to celebrate, and a huge moment to reconnect with the world,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

At Auckland Airport, flights carrying tourists began landing early in the morning, arriving directly from places including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The reopening of the border will help boost tourism ahead of New Zealand’s upcoming ski season. But the real test of the tourism industry’s rebound will be in December, when the southern hemisphere nation begins its peak summer season.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more than 90,000 people had booked flights to New Zealand in the seven weeks since the reopening was announced and that 21 international flights were due to land in Auckland on Monday.

“Our tourism industry has felt acutely the effects of the global pandemic, and is working hard to prepare,” she said.

Ardern said there are no immediate plans to ease virus testing and vaccination requirements for tourists.

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