New Zealand has been closed for the previous 18 months, but yesterday, the nation has finally shed some details on when it will reopen its border for tourism.
Many people around the world have heralded New Zealand as a COVID-19 success story. After the first COVID-19 death outside China on February 2nd, New Zealand enforced mandatory quarantine on all arrivals from China.
By March 16th, the country forced all arrivals into New Zealand to self-isolate for 14 days. Then, only a few days later, the country banned all foreign visitors into the country.
New Zealand has been relatively free of COVID-19 ever since, but the country has isolated itself from the rest of the planet.
In turn, the pandemic has stranded many citizens overseas, unable to find a place in the mandatory hotel quarantine, and New Zealand is reeling from the lack of international visitors.
The Details On The Border Reopening
The New Zealand Government — and it won’t come as a shock — has ruled out opening its borders to international travelers this year. Instead, the country wants to vaccinate its entire population before reopening sometime in early 2022.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “While the pandemic continues to rage overseas, and the virus continues to change and mutate, the best thing we can do is lock in the gains achieved to date while keeping our options open.”
She stated that the border would not open until the entire population has received both vaccines. It remains uncertain whether that includes children.
However, Jacinda Ardern expects the border reopening to be on a managed basis. Fully vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries could enter without having to quarantine. She didn’t mention what would constitute a low-risk country.
Travelers entering from low-risk countries without full vaccination would have to quarantine for 14 days in a military-controlled hotel. Any traveler from medium-risk or high-risk countries would have to complete some form of mandatory quarantine regardless of their vaccination status.
It appears that New Zealand will only allow fully vaccinated visitors from its prospective low-risk list of countries to enter without any restrictions.
The Reaction From The New Zealand Travel Industry
New Zealand usually has 3 million yearly visitors. The country is stunning and attracts people from every world corner. Yet subsequently, many businesses in New Zealand rely on international tourism.
Sure, the benefit of having normality and full domestic travel for the previous 15 months has helped many companies, but companies are still feeling the hit of zero visitors.
The South Island — which is impeccably beautiful — relies on international tourism. However, popular destinations like Queenstown haven’t seen an international visitor since February 2020.
The CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chris Roberts said, “It’s important to have a roadmap so all businesses, including tourism operators, can plan ahead and make informed decisions.”
The COVID-19 Situation In New Zealand
New Zealand has been slow to vaccinate its population compared to the rest of the Western world. Nonetheless, the country has given one vaccination dose to just over 1.8 million people.
New Zealand has only had 26 deaths since the pandemic began, and there have only been 2,557 confirmed cases, with many of those in hotel quarantine. The nation has fully vaccinated 848,000 people, which is only 17.3 percent of the population.
New Zealand will have closed to the world for 2 years by the time it opens. Although the country briefly opened to Australian visitors, the country has ended the travel bubble because of Australia’s rising cases.
New Zealand might be in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a country that everyone should put on their wishlist.
When New Zealand reopens, it’s a sign the world is getting back to normality.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories