New Zealand reopens to visitors from 60 visa-exempt countries

In a major step, New Zealand’s borders have opened to international visitors from 60 countries for the first time in more than two years.

People vaccinated against Covid-19 from 60 visa-exempt countries can officially travel and enter New Zealand from midnight on Sunday.

The government closed New Zealand’s borders at the start of 2020 in a bid to keep Covid-19 out of the country as the pandemic began to spread across the world.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said reopening borders was an integral part of strengthening New Zealand’s economy after the past two years.

“We are currently seeing around 33,000 arrivals per week and we know that today’s changes will further increase arrivals as interest in travel to New Zealand remains high. Searches for international flights to New Zealand are 19% higher than pre-Covid,” Nash said.

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New Zealand welcomed vaccinated Australian tourists and some international students in April ahead of the school holidays.

Aotearoa’s borders were closed on March 19, 2020 after the first case of Covid-19 was detected in New Zealand in February 2020.

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It was the first time in New Zealand’s history that such an extreme decision had been taken, with the ban also including Pacific countries.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said: “The government continues to review New Zealand’s reconnection strategy to see if and when it might be possible to bring the final stages of the reconnection plan forward sooner. provided that.”

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