New Zealand and Australia kicked off quarantine-free travel between the two countries on Monday for the first time in more than a year.
The “trans-Tasman travel bubble” allows Australians and New Zealanders to travel freely between both countries without the need to quarantine on arrival in either.
The first flights under the agreement took off on Monday morning, with the first scheduled to arrive in Auckland from Sydney.
Both countries closed their borders to all but residents and citizens, with a few exemptions, in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealanders have been able to travel to parts of Australia without having to quarantine on arrival since October. However, passengers returning to New Zealand still had to complete 14 days of managed isolation on their return.
Monday marks the first time Australian tourists have been allowed to travel to New Zealand since the border closures.
In a joint statement, prime ministers Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison called the travel bubble a “world-leading arrangement” that would open up travel while keeping coronavirus out of their communities.
“It is truly exciting to start quarantine-free travel with Australia. Be it returning family, friends or holiday makers, New Zealand says welcome and enjoy yourself,” Ardern said.
The travel bubble was a “win-win” for both countries, as it will boost their economies while keeping people safe, Morrison said.
New Zealand and Australia are also looking to extend quarantine-free travel to other countries in the Pacific when they deem it safe to do so.