New Zealand to ‘welcome the world back’ as tourism restarts


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country was “ready to welcome the world back” with most tourists allowed to return in May as the country continues to ease restrictions on travel. coronavirus.

he announced he had forwarded the date when tourists from countries including the US, Canada, UK and much of Europe could visit from the previous announcement date of October.

International tourism used to account for about 20 percent of New Zealand’s foreign income and more than 5 percent of GDP.

But when the pandemic began, New Zealand enacted some of the world’s strictest border controls and travel evaporated.

These measures were initially credited with saving thousands of lives and allowing New Zealand to eliminate or contain some outbreaks.

But with the omicron variant now spreading across the country, border restrictions have largely become irrelevant.

Ardern said the move would boost the economy.

“Closing the border was one of the first actions we took to contain Covid-19 more than two years ago, and reopening will accelerate our economic recovery throughout this time,” she said. remainder of the year.

Under the new schedule, tourists from Australia will be able to visit from April 12, and tourists from other visa-free countries will be able to visit from May 1.

Travelers from non-exempt countries – including India and China – will need to wait longer, unless they already hold a valid visitor visa.

Travelers must be vaccinated and tested negative for the virus before leaving their home country and again after arriving in New Zealand.

“I know from visiting tour operators and talking to their staff how difficult the past two years have been,” says Ardern.

“And not just because of the huge loss in tourism revenue, but because we’ve lost what we’ve gained from so much of our identity.”

New Zealand is famous for its beautiful scenery and adrenaline-stimulating adventure tourism.

The announcement comes as a timely boost to ski fields trying to plan for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere winter.

Ann-Marie Johnson, spokeswoman for Tourism Industry Aotearoa, said: “Tour operators have finally confirmed that they can return to business.

“Tourism is the first industry affected by the pandemic and will be the last to recover. Travel operators both large and small have made many sacrifices but can now focus on rebuilding their businesses. “

Over the past few weeks, New Zealand has reported around 20,000 new cases of the virus a day, the largest outbreak since the pandemic began. The nation’s Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins on Wednesday became the latest celebrity to test positive.

However, experts expect the omicron outbreak to disappear quickly after its peak, as in many other countries. New Zealand to ‘welcome the world back’ as tourism restarts

Fry Electronics Team

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