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16 March 2022: Kia ora cobber – NZ tourism industry thrilled at border reopening plans

Tourism operators are thrilled they can look forward to welcoming international manuhiri, following today’s announcement that New Zealand’s borders are reopening to many international travellers.

“After around 730 days of pain in the two years since our international borders closed, tourism operators finally have confirmation they can get back to business,” Tourism Industry Aotearoa Communications Manager Ann-Marie Johnson says.

“Tourism was the first industry to be affected by the pandemic and will be the last to recover. Tourism operators both large and small have made huge sacrifices but
can now focus on rebuilding their businesses,” Ms Johnson says.

TIA is grateful that the Government has listened to our advocacy on behalf of our members and brought forward the border reopening dates.

Australian visitors, who have traditionally been New Zealand’s biggest market, will be able to return from 11.59pm on 12 April, coinciding with their school holiday period and the Easter break. Visitors from visa-waiver countries including the USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Korea and Singapore, will be able to enter from 11.59pm on 1 May.

“We hope today’s announcement will give some Australian families time to book their holiday travel. But looking further ahead, it will definitely be a huge boost for our ski season,” Ms Johnson says.

Although borders will be open to many travellers from the rest of the world over the coming weeks, it is anticipated that there will be a gradual rather than a rapid recovery during 2022, she says.

The most important aspect of today’s announcement is that it provides certainty for travellers to plan ahead and make their bookings, and for tourism operators to prepare their businesses, hire staff and renew contact with their international markets.

Many parts of the tourism industry operate to long lead times. Airlines and the cruise sector in particular are finalising their schedules and selling itineraries for next summer.

TIA’s Tourism Industry Roadmap suggests that it could be 2024 before the industry reaches its ‘new normal’.

The industry has been working hard over the last two years to ensure it builds back sustainably and attract high quality visitors.

“We are ready to get back to contributing to Aotearoa and New Zealanders, not only economically but also by bringing vibrancy and diversity to our communities,” Ms Johnson says.