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New Zealand had one of the world’s strictest Covid lockdowns. Now its borders are fully reopening

New Zealand is now fully opening its borders and welcoming all international visitors after being closed for more than two decades.

The country will reopen July 31, three months earlier that was previously announced.

New Zealand opened its borders to Australians earlier this year. Citizens of 60 countries, including Singapore, do not require visas to enter the country.

New Zealand had some the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world in 2021. These included lockdowns triggered only by one Covid case, extensive testing, and many public health mandates.

Its largest city, Auckland, was placed under lockdown from August 2021 through December 2021 due to the highly infectious delta variant. 

Although many restrictions have been lifted, New Zealand’s entry requirements are still strict. These are the essential facts to know before visiting New Zealand.

The rules 

Visitors must show proof of vaccination to enter the country, with the exception of New Zealand citizens or Australians. government’s Covid information page. 

Both electronic and paper certificates of vaccination are acceptable. 

Travelers need to do a rapid antigen test on their arrival date — although not necessary upon arrival at the airport — and a second one on the fifth or sixth day of their trip, according to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. 

Masks aren’t needed outdoors, but they are required indoors in museums, supermarkets, and pharmacies. 

Best time to visit 

Despite New Zealand’s inflation reaching a 32-year high at 7.3% earlier in the month, Navigate TravelPrices for accommodations, activities, and tours are now comparable to or even lower than before the pandemic.

“(A holiday in) New Zealand’s very cheap at the moment … Other than air travel, there’s never been a cheaper time to come,” said Daniel Painter, the travel agency’s managing director. 

Travelers have expressed strong interest in visiting the country since May’s announcement that the country’s borders would reopen fully at the end July. Tourism New Zealand. 

Gregg Wafelbakker is the general manager for Asia for the tourism body. He stated that online searches for international flights to New Zealand have increased 39% since the announcement was made. This is a significant increase compared to pre-Covid searches. He said that more than 60% of this interest comes from Australia.

Painter stated that there is still a low demand for travel from Asia, with most visitors to the region coming from Singapore. 

The Singapore-based travel agency Chan Brothers TravelIt is possible that there was a shortage in flights.

“Travel demand to New Zealand is strong since the borders were opened.” [reopened]Singaporeans in May. Jeremiah Wong is the senior marketing communications manager at the agency.

Larger spends, longer trips

Wong said that after years of being barred from New Zealand, travelers are now willing to spend more money to travel longer periods of time in the country.

Wong said that while an eight-day New Zealand tour was very popular prior to the pandemic, there is more interest and bookings for the 11-day tour. This allows travelers to enjoy the sights at a more relaxed pace. 

Navigate Travel’s Painter also shared similar sentiments. Painter stated that travelers “want to be relaxed and not have to worry about anything, but they also want to get a lot of bangfor their buck.”

Painter said that tourists shouldn’t miss hiking in the country, a helicopter ride over Franz Josef Glacier, or whale watching near Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island.

Helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier

Peter Kolejak | Eyeem | Getty Images

After remaining in Singapore for more than two years, Lew Moe Kien, 60, and her husband, 62, visited New Zealand for 12 days in May — just two weeks after its borders reopened to Singapore citizens.

They claimed that locals were thrilled to have tourists back in their country and that they were received with open arms at restaurants, hotels, and other establishments. 

Lew stated that “the places we visited in New Zealand weren’t crowded at all.” “For many places of great interest, there were only two of us.” 

Lew and her husband visited both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, including Hobbiton — a popular destination for “Lord of the Rings” fans — the glow worm caves in Waitomo, and the pancake-shaped rock formations and blowholes at Punakaiki.

Shirleen Tan (46), a Singaporean human resources professional, plans to travel to New Zealand in December with her family.

Tan said, “We were searching for somewhere with warm temperatures, and New Zealand was one of the few warm places in December.”

She stated that she looks forward to visiting vineyards for wine samplings, eating oysters from oyster farms, and enjoying the “beautiful scenery” of New Zealand. 

Source: CNBC

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