Wellington, Europe Brief News – New Zealand fully opened its borders for the first time since March 2020.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it an “enormous moment”, adding it was part of a “cautious process”.
Most visitors will still need to be fully vaccinated, but there are no quarantine requirements.
The country’s maritime border has also reopened, with cruise ships and foreign recreational yachts now allowed to dock.
New Zealand first announced a phased reopening plan in February. It allowed vaccinated citizens to return from Australia that month, and those coming from elsewhere to return in March.
In May, it started welcoming tourists from more than 50 countries on a visa-waiver list.
The final border restrictions ended at midnight on Sunday with tourists from non-visa waiver countries, international students, and cruise ships allowed to enter the country.
“We, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe,” said Ms Ardern in a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday.
“But keeping people safe extends to incomes and wellbeing too.”
New Zealand mostly kept COVID-19 out of the country during the pandemic until the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant in December rendered its tough border controls largely moot.