New Zealand reopens its borders after two years cut off from the world

New Zealand reopens its borders after two years cut off from the world

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Two years after closing its borders to protect itself from the pandemic, New Zealand, on Monday 1 August, reopened its borders to foreign tourists and students, but also to cruises. A boon for the tourism and education sectors which represent a significant level of the country’s GDP.

With our correspondent in Wellington, Richard Tendler

Wellington Airport looked like a party to welcome tourists back to New Zealand. Announcement comes three months earlier than expected. A real relief for this couple separated between the US and New Zealand: “ It’s unbelievable ! We’ve been waiting for this moment for a really long time Woman shouts. Her husband completes: It’s been two years of skepticism wondering when and if we’ll ever see each other again. We didn’t even know if this moment would happen ! We started our relationship without knowing if we could see each other again. »

Marine tourism experts applaud this announcement. Kevin O’Sullivan is president of the New Zealand Cruise Association. For him, the reopening is timely. “ The last time a cruise ship was seen in New Zealand was in March 2020. But the next ship is coming next week, August 12, so that’s very exciting. However, the losses are very heavy. The sector typically accounts for between $300 and $400 million per year. So it is a loss of close to 800 million for the New Zealand economy. »

Public concern over Covid-19

Among the visitors, there are tourists, but also foreign students, mostly Asian, who will again be able to come to the benches of New Zealand universities. Profitable income for the country represents more than three billion euros annually.

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If the reopening of the borders is eagerly awaited, residents remain concerned about pollution during the southern winter. In July, more than 400 people died From Covid-19. A record number since the beginning of the epidemic.

Read also: A study warns that the sea level in New Zealand is rising faster than expected

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