New Zealand has opened its borders, quarantine-free, to Australian travellers, creating a two-way travel bubble between the neighbouring countries.
The gates will open at a minute to midnight on 18 April when arrivals from Australia will not require a vaccine to enter New Zealand.
Travellers from New Zealand have been able to enter selected Australian states without having to quarantine since October, but now the way is clear for two-way travel.
Air New Zealand has increased flights to Australia in its booking system from Monday, 19 April. Qantas and Jetstar have also flagged additional flights although Virgin Australia said it has no plans to increase schedules to New Zealand until November.
News of the border opening has been welcomed by New Zealand’s travel industry.
Tourism New Zealand research estimates about 800,000 Australians will visit New Zealand in the first six months of the border opening.
For the battered business events industry, Lisa Hopkins, chief executive of Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) said: "This is a much-deserved relief for our business events industry members who have really battled for the last year.
"Business events are planned and booked well in advance, and this week's news will give Australian organisers the confidence needed to plan and book their events in New Zealand, not just for this year, but further ahead.”
Nonetheless, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said specific flights into Australia could still be suspended if there were local outbreaks.
“I want it to be something we can stick to,” she added.
"We will be saying, to make this work, there will be an element of 'flyer beware'. People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak."