After New Zealand placed some of the most severe border restrictions in the world, international tourism was stopped completely.
WELLINGTON (AP) - New Zealand has welcomed tourists from the U.S. and Canada as well as Japan, Britain, Japan, Canada and more than 50 other nations for the first time since Monday, two years after it lifted most of its pandemic border restrictions.
It is well-known for its stunning scenery and adventure tourism offerings like bungy jumping or skiing. Prior to the introduction of COVID-19 in New Zealand, over 3 million tourists visited the country each year. This accounted for 20% of New Zealand’s total foreign income and more that 5% of its overall economy.
While the government initially attempted to eliminate the virus, the border rules were maintained. The government then tried to control the spread of it. After the spread of omicron, and vaccinations for more than 80% New Zealand's 5,000,000 population, restrictions were gradually eased.
Three weeks ago, New Zealand opened to tourists from Australia. On Monday, it was open to approximately 60 visa-waiver nations, including large parts of Europe. Tourists from India, China, and other non-waiver nations are not permitted to enter.
Tourists must be tested for the virus and vaccinated before they arrive.
Stuart Nash, Tourism Minister, stated that today is a day to be celebrated and a significant moment in our reconnection the world.
Tourist flights began arriving at Auckland Airport in the early morning. They were coming from all over the world, including from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Kuala Lumpur.
Tourism will be boosted ahead of New Zealand’s ski season. The real test of the tourism industry's recovery will be in December when the peak summer season in the Southern Hemisphere country begins.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, stated that more than 90,000. People had booked flights to New Zealand since the announcement of the reopening. 21 international flights were also scheduled to land in Auckland on Monday.
She said that "our tourism industry has felt the effects of this global pandemic acutely and is working hard to prepare."
Ardern stated that there are no plans to immediately ease the requirements for vaccinations and virus testing in order to protect tourists.