The evening marks the final stage of the government’s reconnection plan, with visitors from non-visa-free countries and international students able to apply for visas to enter New Zealand, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and the Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“Since April, visitors from our key markets such as Australia have been able to travel to New Zealand, and it is great to see the recovery of the tourism sector on track. We are seeing a strong increase in arrivals from from Australia and the United States, with Queenstown, in particular, receiving an increase in visitor numbers,” said Stuart Nash.
“Today’s change in border settings marks the final step in our reconnection strategy. This is great news for the tourism industry and economy as we approach spring and summer with people from the Northern Hemisphere booking their winter holidays We have heard optimistic messages from tourism from operators ready to welcome back international visitors from around the world.
“I am also delighted to see that the government’s $49 million tourism seed fund has been put to good use by 481 businesses most affected by the border closure. This fund has helped operators prepare for the return of international visitors.
“Globally there is a pent-up demand for people to visit New Zealand. In January, 58% of Australians who would like to visit New Zealand wanted to come within six months of the borders opening. That number is even higher. high for our US target market, at 77% and we’re ready for them,” said Stuart Nash.
Today also marks the opening of the maritime border to cruise liners, specialty vessels and pleasure craft such as ocean-going yachts.
“The return of cruise ships is another boost for local communities. Prior to the pandemic, their visits were worth more than $500 million annually, of which $356 million was spent ashore, providing valuable economic contributions to our regions.
“Most cruise visits take place in the warmer months of October through April, and summer is our overall peak tourist season. That means it will be full steam ahead for the industry that can plan ahead. for sure for the rest of the year and beyond,” Stuart said Nash.
Michael Wood said changes in border settings now meant the resumption of major visa categories, including students and visitors.
“Now that our borders are fully open, people coming to New Zealand for work will primarily use the Accredited Employer Work Visa, which opened on July 4, to enter the country,” said Michael Wood.
“Before the pandemic, the international education sector was worth billions of dollars to our country and education service providers. While we continued to support the sector with border exceptions during the pandemic, the full resumption of processing visas is great news for our universities, polytechnics and wānanga, and schools, English language schools and private training institutions.
“As we warmly welcome the world back to our shores, it’s the perfect time to showcase New Zealand to the world,” said Michael Wood.
(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)