It’s going to be much easier to get into New Zealand next week with the dumping of pre-departure tests.
As of next Tuesday, June 21st, travellers into the country will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test. It’s a big change from the current rule which meant people arriving in New Zealand by air had to have a negative PCR, RAT or LAMP test 24-48 hours before going on the flight to the country.
New Zealand was one of the last remaining countries to keep pre-departure tests as a travel requirement, with tourism companies and politics making clear their concerns that the procedure would put travellers off visiting the country.
According to COVID-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall, the New Zealand government had carefully planned reopening the country’s borders to ensure there wasn’t a huge increase in COVID cases. “I’m advised the challenges pre-departure tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits,” she explained.
Some border restrictions still remain in place: non-citizens and non-residents of New Zealand will still need proof of vaccination to enter the country.
Several other changes were announced by Verrall. From next week, passengers just transiting through New Zealand won’t need to be vaccinated or complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration. The maximum penalty for breaching the Air Border Order’s vaccination requirement will also decrease from $4000 to $1000.
It’s good news for New Zealand’s tourism industry, with South Island hotspots like Queenstown firmly enjoying their holiday season currently. The country’s tourism industry has seriously suffered over the last two years of the pandemic, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern alluded to in a conference earlier this year.
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New Zealand’s final phase of border reopening is set to arrive at 11:59pm on July 31st, when all vaccinated travellers and students will be allowed to enter the country with a proper visa.
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