New Zealand reopens to int’l tourists after 2-yr hiatus

People hug upon their reunion at International Arrivals of Auckland Airport, New Zealand.

Wellington, (Asian independent) New Zealand on Monday welcomed international tourists for the first time in two years following a Covid-induced hiatus.

Now, people from more than 60 countries can now enter the country if they are vaccinated against the virus and are also Covid negative, the BBC reported.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the first flights arriving on Monday carried visitors as well as returning citizens.

“They’ll be thrilled to land on New Zealand shores once again, as they reconnect with family, start their studies or build their businesses,” the BBC quoted the spokeswoman as saying.

“It’s great to have international tourists being able to visit our beautiful country again.”

New Zealand citizens have been allowed travel in and out of the country since March, while Australians were allowed to enter since April.

In the wake of the pandemic, New Zealand shut its international borders in March 2020, requiring even returning citizens to complete weeks of quarantine upon entering, the BBC reported.

When announcing the border re-opening earlier this year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the South Pacific nation was “ready to welcome the world back”.

New Zealand’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism from international visitors, and operators have said they were looking forward to the resumption of tourist activity.

As of Monday morning, the country’s overall Covid caseload stood at 943,428, with 713 deaths.

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