Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday New Zealand is now "open for business," hours after the country completed the final stage of its phased border reopening.
Why it matters: New Zealand shut its border to most foreign visitors in March 2020 as COVID-19 spread and the government implemented some of the world's toughest pandemic measures.
By the numbers: Pre-pandemic tourism spending generated NZ$40.9 billion (US$25.7 million) and made a a direct annual contribution to gross domestic product of NZ$16.4 billion, or 5.5%.
What they're saying: "It's been a staged and cautious process on our part since February, as we, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very live global pandemic, while keeping our people safe," Ardern said in a speech to the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday.
The big picture: After the arrival of Omicron in New Zealand, the government last year moved away from an elimination strategy toward one focused on vaccinations.
Worth noting: New Zealand now operates under a "traffic light" framework of pandemic measures. It is currently in the "orange" setting with no capacity restrictions on venues, though face masks are required to enter places like grocery stores unless people have exemptions.

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