New Zealand is moving up its timeline for travel reopening.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday announced that the country, which has remained largely closed off for travel since 2020, will start a phased reopening next month, much earlier than the July 2022 goal originally set by the government.
Starting on April 12, New Zealand will allow vaccinated travelers from Australia to enter without quarantine, in time for that country’s school holidays.
A few weeks later, on May 1, vaccinated tourists from countries that do not need a visa, including Canada and the United States, will then be allowed to enter.
“We are a safe place to visit. And New Zealand will be ready with open arms,” she said.
Ardern, who recognized on Wednesday that “it will take time to rebuild” the country’s tourism industry, said that while quarantine requirements will be axed, travelers will still be required to test up to three times depending on how long their trip is—requirements will include a pre-departure test, a test upon arrival, and then a third test on day 5 or 6 of travel.
“We know COVID is still with us and will be with us for a long time but we are ready to move into a new chapter of our management of the pandemic,” Ardern said. “This change brings with it huge economic opportunities for us.”
While right now, public venues in New Zealand require proof of vaccination in order to enter, the plan is to drop that requirement once the country comes off the Omicron peak. Ardern said that there is no set timeline for that right now, but announcements on the future of mandates and passes will be made sometime next week.