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New Zealand Finally Welcomes Back Its Australian Neighbours

New Zealand Finally Welcomes Back Its Australian Neighbours
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 13: Tourists, friends and family are welcomed at Auckland International Airport on April 13, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand borders reopened to Australian tourists from 11:59 pm on Tuesday 12 April. Vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for quarantine-free travel with a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure, with tests also taken upon arrival and again on day six in New Zealand. Travellers from countries with visa waiver arrangements such as the United Kingdom will be allowed to come to New Zealand from May 1. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

New Zealand, one of the final places in the world to drop a Covid-zero policy, has opened its borders to vaccinated Australian visitors after being mostly closed for more than two years.

It’s a welcome boost for the decimated tourism industry, which accounted for 5.5% of the economy prior to the pandemic, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa. Australians comprised about 40% of visitors, and about 50% during ski season, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said on Australian television Wednesday.

“It’s more than just economic for us,” Ardern told the Sunrise show. “It’s a big part of who we are, is welcoming people to our shores,” she said, describing Australians as New Zealand’s “extended family.”

More than 4,000 customers will board Air New Zealand flights today, as border restrictions between the neighboring countries lift, it said in a statement. The airline is adding 20,000 more seats on 96 extra flights through to June to meet demand for flights in the the upcoming ski season, it said.


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