New Zealand Reopening To Visitors… With A Catch

New Zealand Reopening To Visitors… With A Catch

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New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I know many have wondered when the country will start to reopen to visitors. Well, New Zealand’s government has now revealed its plans for welcoming visitors, though it’s not much to get excited about.

New Zealand to reopen as of April 30, 2022

While this presumably remains subject to change, New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins outlined the country’s plans to reopen borders. New Zealand plans to open to visitors from around the globe as of April 30, 2022:

  • Visitors must be fully vaccinated
  • Visitors will need to self-isolate for a period of seven days; on the plus side, it won’t be in a government facility
  • Travelers will need to present a negative coronavirus test prior to travel, plus be tested upon arrival

Ahead of that timeline, vaccinated New Zealanders who are living abroad will be able to return home sooner than that — this will apply as of January 16, 2022, when coming from Australia, and as of February 13, 2022, when coming from most other countries.

New Zealand’s government has taken one of the strictest stances when it comes to border restrictions during the pandemic, and the country’s borders have remained closed since early 2020. The country has pursued a zero tolerance approach to coronavirus.

That worked well for a long time, but as of August 2021, cases started increasing, given how transmissible the delta variant is. New Zealand is now averaging over 180 new cases per day.

Coronavirus cases in New Zealand are way up

This won’t do much to stimulate tourism

While it’s nice to see that New Zealand has plans to reopen to visitors on some level, a one week self-isolation will be a deal-breaker for most tourists.

Sure, a one week self-isolation is better than what’s currently in place, and maybe it’s enough to get some people to travel there who have ties to the country. For those who haven’t seen family in a couple of years, maybe a one week self-isolation isn’t so bad. But in terms of tourism, not many people can justify a self-isolation like this (in terms of time and cost) if just looking to visit a country.

While this is New Zealand’s plan more than five months in advance, I’d be surprised if the strategy doesn’t change in the coming months. Just as we saw Australia change its border restrictions with little notice, I imagine the same will happen in New Zealand. This plan is already a bit different than what was announced in August 2021, when the intent was to start welcoming vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries without self-isolation.

If New Zealand does follow through with this policy on April 30, the question is what happens next? When will New Zealand open to vaccinated visitors without a week-long self-isolation?

I can appreciate that New Zealand was taking a zero tolerance approach to coronavirus at first, but at some point one has to wonder what the long-term strategy is, especially when the country is now averaging nearly a couple of hundred cases per day.

If you require people to be vaccinated and get tested prior to travel and upon arrival, it seems like those would be reasonable precautions that pave the way for responsible tourism. But the seven day self-isolation destroys the concept.

A seven day self-isolation won’t do much to boost tourism

Bottom line

New Zealand plans to reopen its borders to visitors as of April 30, 2022. The plan is for the country to welcome vaccinated travelers with testing prior to travel and upon arrival, but the major catch is that a seven day self-isolation will be required.

Personally I’d be surprised if this strategy doesn’t change in the next five months, especially with the country no longer taking a zero tolerance approach to coronavirus.

What do you make of New Zealand’s plan to reopen to visitors?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Fed UP Guest

    People in NZ are perfectly content, like their sheep, to be told what to do. They have had a total lock down of their border, including not allowing their own citizens freedom of mobility. After 20 months, it was all for nothing as the virus was able to get into the 2 islands. By the way, due to their stubbornness, NZ was WAY BEHIND on vaccination, for a small country of 6 million, totally inexcusable....

    People in NZ are perfectly content, like their sheep, to be told what to do. They have had a total lock down of their border, including not allowing their own citizens freedom of mobility. After 20 months, it was all for nothing as the virus was able to get into the 2 islands. By the way, due to their stubbornness, NZ was WAY BEHIND on vaccination, for a small country of 6 million, totally inexcusable. Once one case of Ormicon shows up that timid PM will freak out and shut NZ down once again. If they want to stay hiding under their beds in the basement forever, more power to them. It won't work. Get vaccinated, have testing and move on.

  2. Andrew Guest

    Yup, that's why I haven't even considered South Korea, despite remaining "open" during the whole pandemic.

  3. Victoria McNaughten Guest

    You may not need to have to pay for MIQ but you still have to pay upwards of 200 for each ore departure test for each person which is ridiculous

  4. Kiwi Member

    I’m just stoked that I’ll be finally be able to return to the homeland without the bullshit MIQ bureaucracy and expenses. Hopefully this will allow Air NZ to expand their flight schedule to North America as well

  5. Hood Guest

    Immigration NZ is denying partnership and critical purpose Visas despite qualifying and meeting all their policy requirements. Lawyers will say different but contact in INZ is telling me to tell applicants first prolong then deny with the attitude of wait until border reopens.

  6. Keith Guest

    Vacinate, vaccinate, vaccinate and let's get on with life. The chances of vacinated people catching the virus is lower than been hit by a car while crossing the road. OPEN OUR BORDERS !!!

  7. Jan Guest

    Watch them see a single case of Omicron and go straightback to March 2020 mode.

  8. AA56 Guest

    Fake News. NZ will stay firmly closed like Australia.

  9. Guri S. Guest

    Covid is here to stay, until all 8 billion can be safely immunized, variants will exist.

    Covid passport will need to exist.

    I am not going to NZ for a week of isolation. Good luck to NZ and their tourism industry. I am happy to travel within USA.

  10. NYGuy24 Member

    New Zealand has one of the lowest covid rates in the world. I doubt they are interested in tourists coming from countries that are having waves of covid. Maybe they will setup bubbles with other countries that have extremely low covid numbers, but somehow I doubt Americans and Europeans will be welcome anytime soon without a quarantine requirement. Especially given the potential new variant.

  11. MurrayF Guest

    The only benefit to me is that I can finally leave NZ and travel overseas again come February without being locked up for 2 weeks at a cost of $3500NZ when I get home, as I can now isolate at home instead. I feel so sorry for all the accommodation and hospitality businesses who have lost all their summer business for the second year. The costs to people’s lives in NZ is now much higher...

    The only benefit to me is that I can finally leave NZ and travel overseas again come February without being locked up for 2 weeks at a cost of $3500NZ when I get home, as I can now isolate at home instead. I feel so sorry for all the accommodation and hospitality businesses who have lost all their summer business for the second year. The costs to people’s lives in NZ is now much higher than if we managed a more open approach and accepted a realistic level of deaths vs mental and economic costs. Instead our socialist government has engaged in economic genocide. Our revered leader of our little hermit kingdom has shown world class empathy needs to be backed up with operational competence which she and her cabinet lack.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Exactly.

      This isn’t an “open for tourists” announcement, this is an “our residents can finally leave and return” announcement.

      COVID is in NZ, and their intl tourism economy continue to be shut down.

  12. Tom Guest

    As we all know by now, the vaccinations are not 100 percent so on a plane of fully vaccinated people it a good chance on any given flight there could be infected person. Only one has to come in contact with someone unvaccinated or will low antibodies and it could spread across the country. Nothing is 100 percent. I was more of wondering what are possible places to quarantine for 7 days and still have fun.

  13. Mike C Member

    The south-east region of Australia (NSW, Victoria and the ACT) has come to the view that their similar covid profiles mean that there is no longer any point in restricting travel between them any more than they each do internally. There are now effectively no restrictions on that. South Australia has also opened up to the other three, albeit with some limits.

    Aotearoa is approaching the same levels of disease spread as SE Australia so...

    The south-east region of Australia (NSW, Victoria and the ACT) has come to the view that their similar covid profiles mean that there is no longer any point in restricting travel between them any more than they each do internally. There are now effectively no restrictions on that. South Australia has also opened up to the other three, albeit with some limits.

    Aotearoa is approaching the same levels of disease spread as SE Australia so I would be surprised if they didn't open the trans-Tasman border earlier than what the minister has announced today, perhaps with a requirement that travellers must have been in Australia for 14 days before crossing the ditch.

  14. John Guest

    Wait, so New Zealand is experiencing "several hundred cases a day" with arguably the strictest travel bans in the world? But if the people getting for he island are vaccinated, how could they POSSIBLY be spreading the virus?!

    WhAt MoRe DaTA dO tHe UnVaCcInAtEd NeEd????

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Are you being purposefully stupid, or are you just an idiot?

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Jan Guest

Watch them see a single case of Omicron and go straightback to March 2020 mode.

3
MurrayF Guest

The only benefit to me is that I can finally leave NZ and travel overseas again come February without being locked up for 2 weeks at a cost of $3500NZ when I get home, as I can now isolate at home instead. I feel so sorry for all the accommodation and hospitality businesses who have lost all their summer business for the second year. The costs to people’s lives in NZ is now much higher than if we managed a more open approach and accepted a realistic level of deaths vs mental and economic costs. Instead our socialist government has engaged in economic genocide. Our revered leader of our little hermit kingdom has shown world class empathy needs to be backed up with operational competence which she and her cabinet lack.

1
John Guest

Wait, so New Zealand is experiencing "several hundred cases a day" with arguably the strictest travel bans in the world? But if the people getting for he island are vaccinated, how could they POSSIBLY be spreading the virus?! WhAt MoRe DaTA dO tHe UnVaCcInAtEd NeEd????

1
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