After more than two years of closed borders, the New Zealand government announced today it would be opening up the maritime borders after July 31, in time for the opening of the cruise season, which typically starts in October.
The news was welcomed by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, which campaigned heavily to urge the New Zealand government to open up. The notice will bring a welcome boost to locals dependent on tourism, while kiwis can now book a cruise with the confidence it will not be canceled.
Massive Breakthrough for New Zealand
New Zealand will be opening up for cruise ships on July 31. The announcement from the New Zealand government comes just weeks after Australia gave the green light for cruises to resume. The two countries are often on the same itineraries; as such, the news will be welcome for the cruise lines.
CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz believes the news is not just a welcome one for the cruise lines but certainly also for the thousands of people dependent on cruise ships for their income.
In a statement, Joel Katz said: “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. 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.”
The New Zealand Cruise Association reacted equally positively to the Prime Ministers’ announcement, which also stated that the maritime border would reopen without added restrictions.
The New Zealand Cruise Association Chair Debbie Summers: “New Zealand is an important destination for cruise lines and with worldwide demand for cruising strong again, combined with excellent regional dispersal, this sector ticks every box for value.”
“After two years of hardship, hundreds of Kiwi ship suppliers and tourism operators can start rebuilding their businesses back, helping communities that have suffered during our pandemic years and begin preparing with confidence to provide our top service to cruise visitors.”
Stringent New Health Measures
New Zealand and CLIA have been working closely to develop health and safety measures intended to keep locals and tourists safe.
“The cruise industry has worked closely with the New Zealand Government to develop plans for a responsible return of international cruise ships and we look forward to reviving the economic opportunities that come with cruise tourism in communities around New Zealand,” Mr. Katz said.
The measures include vaccination mandates and testing requirements for all passengers and crew before boarding, measures that have been proven successful at keeping COVID-19 cases onboard cruise ships to an absolute minimum.
Mr. Katz: “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,”
New Zealand Aims For 2019 Numbers
There is still a long way to go for the New Zealand tourism sector as it prepares to welcome back thousands of visitors in the second half of 2022. The country aims to recover in the coming years to the numbers it experienced in 2019.
During the record year, cruise ship expenditure in New Zealand was $569.8 million. Three hundred twenty-two thousand cruise ship passengers visited the country, an increase of 24 percent over 2018. During the 2019 cruise year, 176 cruises visited New Zealand, with 981 calls made to the various ports on the North and South islands.
New Zealand is known for its wide variety of natural beauty and deep Maori cultural connections. From Milford Sound to sipping wines in Marlborough, the country is a bucket list destination for thousands who will be overjoyed to finally travel to the country.