New Zealand to reopen for tourists in 2022

The government said this is the 'safest' approach to reopening

New Zealand to reopen for tourists in 2022

New Zealand has revealed the plan to reopen borders in phases for citizens abroad and tourists from across the world in 2022. In the first phase of reopening, New Zealand citizens and resident in Australia will be allowed back to the country starting January 16. The second phase will expand the previous one to allow the re-entry of New Zealand citizens and residents who are coming from different parts of the world. It will begin on February 13.

The last phase will reopen borders to tourists from other countries across the world, except for those regarded high-risk, starting April 30, BBC reported. In all phases, inbound travellers will be required to submit themselves to a seven-day self-isolation and COVID-19 testing upon arrival. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the plan is "the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed."

"It reduces the potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system," he said as quoted by CNN.

Read more: New Zealand to shift to traffic light COVID-19 restrictions

The reopening plan was welcomed by the Auckland Business Chamber, saying it will give certainty to businesses in the tourism sector.

"While the new international border plan may be overly cautious for enterprises rearing to go, it at least gives certainty and that is what we asked for," said Chamber chief executive officer Michael Barnett in a statement.

The official, however, called on the government to expand border reopening to also include skilled workers, students, and investors.

"Now we want to know what will give government [the] confidence to accelerate the conditions and timing of opening the border faster and wider to bring in not just New Zealand citizens but skilled workers, students or even investors and tourists who are all fully vaccinated, testing negative and arriving from countries on our safe list?" Barnett added.

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