Emotional reunions as Australia and New Zealand open travel bubble

A passenger arriving from Sydney at the Wellington International Airport hugs a loved one in Wellington New Zealand Monday. — AP

Despite the excitement of open borders, Morrison and Ardern warned travellers to prepare for disruptions to their travel at short notice in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks, and said the risks of quarantine-free travel will be under "constant review".

A border worker has tested positive for coronavirus in New Zealand, a day after the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia opened.

Kristy Mather said it was overwhelming to be reunited with her family and it was awesome the bubble had opened.

Air New Zealand Ltd said of the 5,200 passengers booked on Monday, 59% were travelling to New Zealand.

With quarantine-free travel now beginning between New Zealand and Australia, the Ministry of Health urged travellers to download the Covid tracer app.

Qantas will join Jetstar and Air New Zealand in connecting the Gold Coast to Auckland from today.

Residents will be able to travel between both countries Monday without a mandatory quarantine, officials announced, after more than a year of closing down borders.

A giant sign painted near the main runway of the Wellington International Airport greets travellers returning home in Wellington New Zealand Monday April 19. The sign reads “Welcome Whanau” with the second word an Indigenous Maori word meaning famil
'Like a scene from Love Actually': Tears and hugs as families from New Zealand and Australia reunite

In 2019, 1.5 million Australians travelled to New Zealand, while 1.4 million New Zealanders travelled to Australia, according to their respective tourism marketing organisations. "So you can see those protocols there, working as we would intend", she said.

The travelers are required to complete a health declaration ahead of departure and return a negative test in the 14-day period.

Television footage showed emotional scenes at the airports with families reuniting and scores of passengers thronging the worldwide departure terminals at Australian airports. - AP A mother (R) embraces her daughter upon her arrival from New Zealand at Sydney International Airport on April 19.

Australia was New Zealand's largest source of global tourists before the pandemic, accounting for about 1.5 million arrivals or 40 percent of total visitors in 2019.

More than half a million New Zealand-born people live in Australia, just over 2% of Australia's population of near 26 million. That figure is expected to touch NZ$1 billion this financial year if the travel bubble operates smoothly.

It would also help travel agents who are yet to gather an outstanding 4 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) still owed to Australians by airlines, hotels and tour operators for COVID-impacted travel overall, including managing re-bookings and cancellations as a result of on-and-off restrictions.


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