Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) and Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) have welcomed the New Zealand Government’s decision to lift all self-isolation requirements for fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and eligible visa holders entering the country from Australia.
New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced yesterday that from 11:59pm, Wednesday 2 March this group will no longer be required to self-isolate, with fully vaccinated Kiwis and eligible travellers from anywhere in the world following closely behind from 11:59pm,Tourism Friday 4 March.
Travellers will still be required to have a negative pre-departure test, and undertake a rapid antigen tests on arrival followed by a second at five or six. If anyone returns a positive result they will be required to report it and isolate for the same period as a community case.
BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins said the decision signalled a strong intent for other travellers, with a decision on when all fully-vaccinated visitors can come to New Zealand without self-isolation expected soon.
“This is a great start in reconnecting New Zealand with the world. We are encouraged by the Prime Minister saying a decision could be made by mid-March on opening up to all travellers,” Hopkins said.
Despite the optimism, Hopkins said that the country’s tourism and business events industry has felt like it has been in a permanent lockdown for the past two years.
“We have a significant number of business events in a holding pattern because of current international border settings and, as a consequence, many New Zealanders here at home are still unsure of their future,” she said.
“Our message to the Prime Minister is that while today is the first step in delivering hope back to many in the visitor economy, we now look forward to timely decisions on the next steps of the plan to ensure the industry can begin its own recovery from COVID.”
Reflecting this sentiment, TIA communications manager Ann-Marie Johnson said tourism businesses still needed more certainty on when international visitors can come into the country.
“The tourism industry’s priority is the reopening of our borders to vaccinated international leisure and business travellers,” Johnson said.
“While we are reassured by today’s decision that self-isolation is being removed for all fully vaccinated arrivals, we look forward to Cabinet’s review of the dates when our borders will reopen to international visitors.”