It was an unlikely sight for most of the locals as they gathered at the Hannan International Airport yesterday afternoon to welcome the first flight of Quarantine-Free Travel (QFT) passengers to the island.
BCN News understands that approximately 120 passengers arrived on the flight yesterday.
Passengers included returning residents, tourists, families of residents, auditors, economists, health officials, and engineers.
Although it brought back a familiar presence of pre-covid times where a great number of people would gather at the airport to await the arrival of their dear families and friends from overseas welcoming them with cheerful hugs and warm expressions showered with local kahoa siale and maile, it was still an unusual feeling for most of the locals who gathered at the airport yesterday.
After more than two years since the Covid-19 outbreak took a toll on many nations throughout the world including Niue, the island has remained with its borders closed and travel restrictions set in place allowing only Niue residents to enter the island.
But up until yesterday the island commenced with its QFT, relaxing its travel restrictions and opening of borders to allow both residents and non-residents to the island.
And as seen at the airport, locals were prepared for QFT as they wore face masks and practised social distance.
As the first load of passengers emerged, a praise of joy was welcomed by the locals as they clapped and cheered those who were familiar or new to the island saying ‘welcome to Niue!’
An emotional and exciting day for some locals while others were more wary of the possibility of a Covid-19 community outbreak amongst the passengers who have arrived.
Either way it is something that the people would need to be accustomed to for the next coming weeks as the island attempts to return back to normal.