2 years after the borders were closed we are officially opening up to most of the world as of April 12th, starting with Australia. Then Visa-Waiver countries as of May 1st which include countries like Canada and the United States of America. There you have it! We will be back to normal.
Not exactly. The above statement is correct with a few conditions. First and foremost, anyone wishing to visit Aotearoa will need to be fully vaccinated. That is a big MUST. I know it seems a little awkward given we hosted a small portion of New Zealanders who aren’t vaccinated as they set up shop on our parliament’s lawn, but trust me our government grounds are looking pretty gosh darn good, thanks to a hefty number of workers and volunteers from around Wellington. Anyway! You will also need to return a negative covid test 3 times, pre-departure, on arrival and on either day 5 or 6 of your stay in New Zealand. No isolation or quarantine is needed like in previous circumstances which is a big plus.
It’s been a long time coming, a lot of local businesses have really taken a beating during Covid with many shutting down. Those that are still open can benefit from the borders opening up, not just local businesses but also certain regions around New Zealand too. The Otago region of the south island boasts popular instagramable moments, and no I’m not talking about the Hyde Street Party in Dunedin. I’m talking about places like Queenstown, Milford Sounds, Coronet Peak and even the West Coast region – these regions recorded some of the largest decreases in GDP growth and Employment according to the Infometrics report released by the NZ treasury outlining the effects of Covid-19 on local regions around Aotearoa.
However, there is a forecast for the next few years that these figures will get better. With the borders opening up and some sort of normality being introduced fingers crossed things will get better. With the decrease in numbers of international visitors since the borders were shut, it has been nice to see more New Zealanders explore the beautiful country we live in. When you’re forced to stay in your country or it is made extremely difficult to leave you kind of want to explore your own backyard when it isn’t jam-packed.
Okay, so new things we’re adjusting to – getting covid or someone you know getting covid and what to do. That’s been a big one. Wearing masks everywhere we go now is just the norm, like when you leave the house you check if you have your phone, wallet, keys and now a MASK. You basically need a vaccine pass almost everywhere you go, if you are an international visitor though you will need to request a New Zealand ‘My Vaccine pass’ as some places may not accept a vaccine pass from another country. Although almost no one scans in with the QR code anymore it is helpful to keep track of your whereabouts in case to you do contract covid. Monitoring symptoms is very important too, I know it’s hard because covid symptoms are pretty much anything and everything.
If I have any advice for international visitors arriving in Aotearoa. Please support the local businesses around the country or in the city/town you visit. Specifically, if you come to Wellington and you get the cravings for Mcdonalds maybe consider a nice alternative like Mama Browns or if you want some of the colonels chicken at KFC maybe try Soul Shack instead. Don’t get me started on coffee! If you ask where the nearest Starbucks is, don’t be surprised if you get an eye roll because there are endless places around the Wellington CBD to get great coffee.
Finally, be considerate and courteous because being able to travel for leisure is a luxury.
By Keenan Rogers