Just days after Australia announced they will be reopening to visitors, New Zealand is following suit. The island country closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed the last two years.
Beginning on April 13, vaccinated visitors from Australia will be able to enter New Zealand without quarantining. On May 2, vaccinated travelers from “visa-waiver” countries will be able to enter, including those from countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, and Singapore.
“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,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We’re ready to welcome the world back… We are a safe place to visit and New Zealand will be ready with open arms.”
New Zealand closed their borders after their first outbreak in 2020, and have remained mostly COVID-free for the last two years. Ninety-five percent of their residents 12+ have been vaccinated, with 72 percent having received a booster shot.
The tourism industry in New Zealand has suffered in the last two years. Previous to the pandemic, tourism accounted for 5.5 percent of total GDP.
“This brings with it huge economic opportunities for us—we will be a sought-after market,” Ardern said. “We’re now known globally as not just being clean and green, but also being safe, so we know that we’ll be in high demand.”