© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Individuals hug within the arrivals space on the Auckland Airport, as Australians began arriving after the nation opened its borders to travellers from its neighbouring nation for the primary time since mid-2021, in Auckland, New Zealand, April 13, 202
By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand welcomed hundreds of travellers from across the globe on Monday because the nation opened its borders to guests from round 60 nations together with the USA, Britain and Singapore for the primary time since COVID-19 hit in early 2020.
Maori cultural performers sang songs on the arrivals gate in Auckland and travellers had been handed well-liked regionally made chocolate bars as the primary flights got here in from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Family and friends hugged and cried as folks had been reunited for what was for some the primary time in additional than two years.
Garth Halliday, who was ready on the airport for his son, daughter-in-law and grandson to land from London, advised native media it made him pleased and emotional to see so many households reunited.
New Zealand had a number of the hardest curbs on this planet throughout the pandemic and solely not too long ago began to ease the more and more unpopular measures, hoping to spice up tourism and ease labour shortages now the Omicron variant is widespread domestically.
Borders had been opened to New Zealanders and Australians in February and March. Now guests from round 60 visa-waiver international locations can enter so long as they’re vaccinated and take a look at destructive for COVID. There are not any necessities for isolation.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advised attendees on the U.S. Enterprise Summit in Auckland that abroad guests will actually “deliver again a chunk that has been lacking from New Zealand and New Zealanders.”
On Monday, 43 worldwide flights had been scheduled to reach or depart from Auckland Worldwide Airport carrying round 9,000 passengers.
Air New Zealand Chief Buyer and Gross sales Officer Leanne Geraghty mentioned demand had exceeded expectations with most of the providers filling up.
“That is welcome information for the New Zealand tourism business who has weathered a troublesome storm,” she mentioned.
Vacationers from a lot of international locations together with India and China proceed to be barred with restrictions for them not being lifted till October.
(The story is up to date to right day of the week in first paragraph)