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New Zealand is ditching pre-departure testing requirements for arriving travellers

In what is a massive boost for trans-Tasman tourism, the New Zealand government has announced it will be ditching its testing requirement for travellers to produce a negative COVID-19 result before arriving in the country.

In what is a massive boost for trans-Tasman tourism, the New Zealand government has announced it will be ditching its testing requirement for travellers to produce a negative COVID-19 result before arriving in the country.

On Thursday, COVID-19 Minister Ayesha Verrall announced New Zealand’s pre-departure testing regime would be axed for all arrivals as of Tuesday, June 21.

Unvaccinated travellers will also be able to enter New Zealand without quarantining for the first time during the pandemic.

The government’s shift comes ahead of the opening weekend of the ski season, with lifts now turning at South Island resorts following a large snow dump last week.

The move follows a similar shift from Australia in April, and the United States last weekend.

Tourism figures have welcomed the move, suggesting tourists were choosing to travel to places like Australia which do not have pre-departure testing, which can be costly and logistically challenging.

Dr Verrall said the government believed “the challenges pre-departure tests pose to visitors are now no longer outweighed by the public health benefits”.

“Factors such as the availability of and cost of getting a test are increasingly becoming a barrier for people intending to travel here, especially as other countries wind back testing availability or the requirement for a test on entry themselves,” she said.

New Zealand
Franz Josef Glacier. Image: Tourism New Zealand

International arrivals will still need to complete two rapid antigen tests after landing in New Zealand as the government tracks new variants.

Mask mandates remain for many indoor settings in New Zealand, including public transport and retail.

“The removal of pre-departure testing will make it easier for prospective visitors to choose New Zealand when weighing up where to holiday,” says Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Rebecca Ingram.

“We’re excited that we can now move into the next phase of recovery and confidently welcome more international manuhiri (visitors) to our shores.” 

Ms Ingram said the earlier date will be a boost for the ski industry, with the news following Queenstown’s biggest snowfall in years over the weekend.

For more, head to www.govt.nz/international-travel/how-to-enter-new-zealand/travel-with-australia