New Zealand’s borders fully open after long pandemic closure

New Zealand’s borders have been opened fully for the first time since March 2020. Immigration authorities will now begin accepting visitors with visas and those on student visas again.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it an “enormous moment”, but noted that most visitors would still need to be fully vaccinated, but there would not be any quarantine requirements.

The country’s maritime border has also reopened, with cruise ships and foreign recreational yachts now allowed to dock.

New Zealand first announced a phased reopening plan in February, when it allowed vaccinated citizens to return from Australia that month, and those coming from elsewhere to return in March.

In May, it started welcoming tourists from more than 50 countries on a visa-waiver list.

Ms Ardern said in a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday August 1st that “we, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe. But keeping people safe extends to incomes and wellbeing too.”

In the year ending March 2021 tourism’s contribution to the GDP dropped to 2.9%, from 5.5% the year before.

International tourism fell by NZ$16.2bn ($10.2bn to NZ$1.5bn.