March 17, 2022: -New Zealand is bringing forward the opening of its international borders to limited travelers after over two years of Covid-19 isolation, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who says an influx of tourists will boost the nation’s economy.
The change means the end of a few of the most challenging border controls in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, imposed as the government tried to keep the coronavirus out, comes months ahead of the previous schedule.
New Zealand’s policies helped keep infections and deaths decreased. But with the omicron variant now rampant, criticism has grown as a business, particularly tourism and agricultural sectors see little value in staying shut off from the world.
On Wednesday, Ardern told reporters that vaccinated travelers from Australia, New Zealand’s most significant source of tourists, can enter without the need to quarantine from April 12 rather than July as previously planned.
Tourists from visa-waiver countries, including the United States, Britain, and Singapore, will now visit from May 1.
“Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop Covid-19, over two years ago, and its reopening will spur our economic recovery throughout the remainder of the year,” she said.
The changes mean Australians will travel to New Zealand in time for the Easter school holidays next month.
All visitors must be vaccinated and provide negative Covid-19 tests but would not have to quarantine on arrival. The border is not scheduled to reopen until October to all travelers fully, but Ardern said this could also yet be brought forward.