Wellington – The New Zealand government is bringing forward the date for opening the border to tourists in time for the Australian school holidays, in a move that will help accelerate the economic recovery from Covid-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday.
On April 12, 11.59pm local time onwards, Australians will be able to travel to New Zealand isolation-free, and then two and a half weeks later from 11.59pm local time May 1, vaccinated travellers from visa-waiver countries such as Britain, the US, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Singapore, and those with valid visitor visas, will be able to arrive here, Xinhua news agency reported citing Ardern.
“Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop Covid two years ago. It did the job we needed. But now that we’re highly vaccinated and predicted to be off our Omicron peak, it’s now safe to open up,” she said.
Reopening in time for the upcoming Australian school holidays will help spur New Zealand’s economic recovery in the short term and is good news for the winter ski season, said the prime minister.
Trans-Tasman travellers have historically made up 40% of New Zealand’s international arrivals, with around 1.5 million Australians visiting each year, statistics show.
New Zealand’s largest city airport Auckland Airport is celebrating the return of international quarantine-free travel to New Zealand following Wednesday’s announcement that two years of border restrictions would be coming to an end.
There are currently 13 airlines flying to 25 destinations from New Zealand, down from 29 airlines connecting to 43 international destinations pre-pandemic.