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New Zealand reopened its doors to international tourists yesterday from about 60 visa-waiver countries, including the US and much of Europe, for the first time in over two years. Visitors can now travel freely if they are fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival. Tourists from non-waiver countries, such as China and India, are still not permitted entry. Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for more than 5% of the country’s economy with $17.5B of annual expenditure from international tourism; China was the second-largest international visitor behind Australia and accounted for about $1B in tourism spend.
New Zealand imposed some of the world’s toughest border restrictions in March 2020 as the country tried to control the spread of the virus. The country is averaging just over 7,600 cases per day, and more than 80% of the country’s 5 million people have been vaccinated.
See a New Zealand rugby star’s emotional reunion with his mom here.