COVID-19: What New Zealand’s Phased Border Reopening Plan Means for Hotels

We’re days away from New Zealand’s first step (of five) towards reopening the international borders. This is a big win for hoteliers, as tourists will slowly be able to re-enter the country, and Kiwis living abroad will finally be able to return. 

There are many things you’ll need to consider in preparation for these changes. Make sure you’re healthy and safety standards are kept high, and clear information is provided for both guests and staff in case Covid-19 makes its way into your property. Make sure to check their Vaccine Passport on arrival and provide hand sanitiser and masks to guests when possible. It’s also a good time to make sure the cleaning in between guests is impeccable, and there are clear guidelines in place for this.

You may want to also consider revisiting your cancellation policies as Omnicron cases continue to grow throughout the community. It’s much safer to allow guests to be flexible and change a booking, rather than strongarm them into using it. 

If your guests are arriving from a country that has been identified as high risk for Covid-19, please be sure to monitor their health and yours closely for 14 days after arrival. If either of you starts to experience any symptoms, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, got get tested – or advise travellers where they can access these.

As of February 24th, Rapid antigen tests (RAT) are available at testings centres and pharmacies nationwide, so that you can stop the spread as soon as possible. 

The following is a list of stages set out by the New Zealand government which will see border restrictions slowly lifted throughout the year. Each comes with a new set of risks for your hotel, so it’s important to take precautions early and prepare ahead of time. 

These are the regulations as of 17th March 2022, and we will continue to update this as they change. For more information, please check the New Zealand government website.


New Zealand’s 5 Step Border Plan 

As of 11:59pm on Wednesday 2 March 2022, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents arriving from overseas will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival.

Step 1 — From 11:59pm 27 February 2022

Fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand from Australia and will not have to enter managed isolated and quarantine (MIQ). Self-isolation on arrival will now be able to be carried out at home, or the traveller’s place of residence.

Unvaccinated residents, and those with exemptions, will still have to enter MIQ for quarantine on arrival.

If you’re travelling from Australia, you must have stayed there for at least 14 days before you arrive in New Zealand.

Step 2 — From 11:59pm 4 March 2022

Fully vaccinated people can arrive from anywhere in the world into New Zealand, and self-isolate at their place of residence.

To qualify for this, you must meet one of these requirements:

  • NZ citizens, and residents
  • Eligible travellers under current settings
  • Skilled workers earning 1.5x the median wage which qualify for an ‘other critical worker’ exception
  • Working holiday visa holders

If you’re unvaccinated, you will still need to go into MIQ. 

Step 3 — From 11:59pm 12 April 2022

Fully vaccinated people can arrive from anywhere in the world into New Zealand, and self-isolate at their place of residence.

  • Australian residents and permanent residents.
  • Temporary work and student visa holders from anywhere in the world who meet their visa requirements
  • 5,000 international students for the second semester

Step 4 — 11:59pm 1 May 2022

Fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand and self-isolate upon arrival if they meet one of these requirements: 

  • Visa Waiver Visitors
  • Visitors from any country who already holds a valid visitor visa

By July 2022

Fully vaccinated people can enter New Zealand and self-isolate upon arrival if they meet one of these requirements: 

  • Travellers arriving under the Accredited Employer Work Visa categories

From October 2022

All visa categories will reopen from October 2022.


For more-depth and up to date information, check out these links provided by the New Zealand Government:

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Preno's Head of Growth, Menilik, is highly knowledgeable around all things marketing & sales. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and sales, and seeks to guide hoteliers with their goals.

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