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New Zealand’s borders are fully reopened after more than two years

After more than two years, New Zealand is fully reopening its borders and welcoming all international visitors back.

The country will reopen on July 31, about three months earlier than previously announced.

Earlier this year, New Zealand’s borders were opened to Australians and citizens of 60 places that do not require a visa to enter, including Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom.

In 2021, New Zealand has some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the world, including a lockdown due to a single Covid case, extensive testing and multiple public health mandates.

Its largest city Auckland has been on lockdown for 107 days, from August to December 2021, due to an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant.

Many curbs have been removed, but the requirements to enter New Zealand remain very strict. Here’s what to know before you visit.

Rules

With the exception of New Zealand citizens and Australians living in the country, travelers are required to provide proof of vaccination for entry, according to government Covid information page.

Both electronic and paper vaccination certificates are accepted.

Follow New Zealand Ministry of Health.

Masks are not required outdoors, but they are required indoors, such as in museums, supermarkets and pharmacies.

Cheapest time to visit

Despite inflation in New Zealand hit a 32-year high of 7.3% in the first day of this month, Travel Navigation says the prices of tours, activities and accommodation are the same, if not cheaper, than pre-pandemic prices.

“(A holiday in) New Zealand is very cheap at the moment… Apart from air travel, there has never been a cheaper time,” said Daniel Painter, chief executive officer of the travel agency.

Since it was announced in May that the country’s borders would fully reopen by the end of July, there has been strong interest from visiting visitors, said New Zealand Tourism.

Gregg Wafelbakker, travel agency general manager for Asia, said: “Online searches for international flights to New Zealand (are) up 39% since the announcement was made, compared to pre-Covid searches. More than 60% of this interest comes from Australia, he said.

However, Painter said travel demand from Asia remained low, with visitors from the region mostly coming from Singapore.

Singapore-based travel agency Chan Brothers Travel indicates that flight shortages may be the cause.

“Travel demand to New Zealand has been very good since the border [reopened] for Singaporeans in May. However, due to the availability of flights, we see demand outpacing supply,” said Jeremiah Wong, the company’s senior director of marketing communications.

Bigger spending, longer trips

Mr. Wong said that after years of detention in New Zealand, visitors showed they were willing to spend more to travel for longer periods in the country.

“An eight-day New Zealand tour was a popular choice before the pandemic, but we are now seeing a lot of interest and booking for our 11-day tour, for our 11-day tour,” said Wong. allowing visitors to visit attractions at a more relaxed pace.”

The Navigate Travel artist shares a similar view, saying travelers “want to have the ability to relax and not have to worry about everything, but they also want to have more things to do for more money.”

The artist says hiking in the country’s national parks, scenic helicopter rides over the Franz Josef Glacier and whale watching near the town of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island are just some of the activities that tourists can enjoy. Guests should not be missed.

A helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier.

Peter Kolejak / Eyeem | Eyeem | beautiful pictures

After staying 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 said locals are delighted to have tourists back in the country and they are welcomed with open arms at restaurants and other establishments.

“The places we visited in New Zealand were not crowded at all,” Lew said. “For many interesting places, it’s just the two of us there.”

Lew and her husband have visited both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, including Hobbiton – a popular destination for “Lord of the Rings” fans – the glow wormhole in Waitomo, and the Pancake rock formations and blowholes in Punakaiki.

Shirleen Tan, 46, a human resources professional from Singapore, is planning a trip to New Zealand with her family in December.

“We were looking for somewhere with warm weather and New Zealand was one of the few countries that was warm in December,” said Tan.

She said she is looking forward to visiting the vineyards to taste the wines, eat fresh oysters at the oyster farms, and “enjoy the beautiful scenery that New Zealand is famous for.”

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