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28 February 2022: Self-isolation removal a big step on tourism road to recovery

The tourism industry is celebrating a big step forward on the road to recovery today with the removal of self-isolation requirements for arriving travellers, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

But tourism businesses still need more certainty on when international visitors can come into New Zealand, TIA Communications Manager Ann-Marie Johnson says.

“We are excited to welcome back vaccinated whānau from Australia, as well as Kiwis from the rest of the world later this week, with no requirements for self-isolation if they have a negative test. We hope these returning Kiwis will take the opportunity to enjoy a New Zealand holiday and reacquaint themselves with Aotearoa,” Ms Johnson says.

“However, the tourism industry’s priority is the reopening of our borders to vaccinated international leisure and business travellers. We are reassured by today’s decision that self-isolation is being removed for all fully vaccinated arrivals but look forward to Cabinet’s review of the dates when our borders will reopen to international manuhiri.”

Many parts of the tourism industry operate to long lead times.  Airlines and the cruise sector in particular are currently putting in place their schedules and selling itineraries for next summer. Tourism operators also need some time to prepare their businesses for the return of international visitors.

The nature of the next summer season will be heavily determined by decisions taken now about New Zealand’s reopening settings.

“It would be wonderful if we could signal soon that New Zealand will reopen to Australian visitors in time for their April school holiday period which includes Easter. If current forecasts are correct, New Zealand’s Omicron outbreak will have passed its peak by then.”

The industry’s recovery will not begin until high value holidaymakers can enter New Zealand. The sooner we can signal intentions and timelines for reopening both air and maritime borders, the sooner tourism operators can get back to doing what they do best, she says.

TIA is glad the Government has listened to our calls for the end of self-isolation for international arrivals but will continue to push for the dates for full reopening of New Zealand’s borders to be specified as quickly as possible.