It’s the good news that skiers, cruisers and friends of Kiwis have been waiting for – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a new faster timeline for reopening the border and reconnecting New Zealand with the world. New Zealand’s border will now be fully reopened by the end of July – two months earlier than originally planned.
The reopening of the maritime border at the same time is also welcome and means cruise lines can start confirming port calls and preparing ships with certainty for the 2022-23 season. Ardern said the announcement gave a good amount of preparation time for airlines and cruise ship companies to return to New Zealand for the peak spring and summer seasons.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has welcomed the announcement and said it will provide a welcome boost for tourism operators in communities around the country, while also bringing clarity to the many thousands of Kiwis who love to holiday at sea.
“Today’s announcement is a huge breakthrough for the many New Zealanders who depend on cruise tourism, including travel agents, tour operators, food and produce providers, port workers and many other industry suppliers,” said CLIA’s managing director for Australasia, Joel Katz.
“The suspension of international cruising over the past two years has had a huge impact on the New Zealand travel industry and we now have an opportunity to work on a revival.”
Katz said millions of people had already sailed in more than 90 other countries where cruising had resumed.
“The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work with medical experts internationally which has resulted in health protocols that are among the most extensive to be found anywhere in world tourism,” Katz said.
“These protocols span the entirety of the cruise experience and provide some of the highest possible levels of prevention, detection, and mitigation against COVID-19 – including vaccination and testing requirements for all passengers and crew before boarding.