NZ has agreed to allow passengers from other countries to travel for the “first time” for a “new and exciting way to experience New Zealand”.
New Zealanders can now travel to China, the United States and Russia without having to apply for a visa, after the country signed an agreement with US and Russian companies.
The agreement allows travellers to travel to the three countries for up to three months without having their visas renewed and will allow the government to provide a one-stop shop for tourists and residents.
China and Russia will also be allowed to provide services to tourists, but only with the consent of the government.
There are currently only two Chinese cities in New Zealand, and they are not allowed to serve tourism as a matter of policy.
Auckland Airport has had to temporarily stop operations and restrict flights because of the agreement.
Tourism Minister Judith Collins said the deal was about “a new and exciting new way to travel”.
“There’s lots of opportunities to travel around the world, to the places where New Zealanders really have a connection,” she said.
“This agreement will help New Zealand’s economy and it will help us compete internationally.”
Ms Collins said travellers from China and Russia were not allowed on New Zealand flights because they did not have a visa and could not enter New Zealand.
This will be a one stop shop for visitors from all around the globe, she said, with the government providing services to all.
It’s a great deal for New Zealand and it’s going to make our economy stronger, Ms Collins said.
She said it would also allow travellers from other nations to travel without having a visa.
She said the agreement would allow the Government to expand its services to provide access to travel, employment, education and cultural experiences.
Ms Pearson said it was important to recognise that New Zealand is an international leader in tourism and it would be a “great deal for the economy”.
“The fact that we are able to have an agreement that allows people to be able to travel freely in other countries is a great benefit for the Kiwis.”
“And that will help our economy.”
A number of countries, including Japan, have agreed to provide visas for tourists without applying for visas.
Australia has also announced it would provide visa-free travel for residents.
The deal is the first step in New York, which has seen visa-less travel become common, and other European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have signed agreements with the US.
Japan has also been looking at the idea of introducing visa-exempt travel for foreign residents, which would allow them to travel with a visa for up in three months.