Loosening of the corona: New Zealand opens the borders of 60 countries

Status: 05/02/2022 08:36

After two years of confinement due to the corona pandemic, New Zealand has reopened its borders to visitors from 60 countries. Experts say the tourism industry is unlikely to recover just yet.

For the first time in two years, New Zealand has reopened its borders to international guests – as one of the last countries in the Asia-Pacific region. At the moment, only double-vaccinated visitors from 60 visa-exempt countries, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland, are allowed entry.

“Today is a day to celebrate and a great moment in our reconnection with the world,” Tourism Secretary Stuart Nash said. ‘Auckland in New Zealand.

The authorities continue to require a negative corona test before departure to the country of origin and a second when entering New Zealand. Tourism experts criticize compliance with this regulation. “Countries like Australia, Britain, Denmark and recently Fiji have lifted this requirement,” Radio New Zealand quoted a spokesperson for New Zealand tourism company House of Travel as saying. This makes travel easier for vacationers. “That’s why they’re probably more likely to travel to those countries than to New Zealand.”

Ardern: 90,000 flights booked to New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was optimistic that opening up the country would boost tourism again. In the seven weeks since the reopening was announced, more than 90,000 people had booked flights to New Zealand.

“Our tourism industry has felt the effects of the global pandemic very hard.” They are now working hard to prepare for tourists, Ardern said. However, there are no immediate plans to relax virus testing and vaccination requirements for tourists.

Resumption not expected before October

The tourism industry does not expect the sector to recover until October – also because winter is only just beginning in New Zealand. Before the corona pandemic, three million tourists visited the country every year. The industry contributes over five percent to New Zealand’s economy.

New Zealand, with its five million inhabitants, has long been considered a model country in the fight against the virus. The island state had largely isolated itself from the outside world by March 2020 and sometimes pursued a so-called zero-Covid strategy.

More than 80% of the five million inhabitants have now been vaccinated against the corona virus. This has prompted the government to gradually ease restrictions in recent weeks.

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