A pandemic may not be the most effective of occasions to court docket vacationers, however Iceland believes it has so much to supply nowadays.
Only a few COVID-19 instances, huge open landscapes, and a low inhabitants density are among the arguments Iceland’s tourism minister is touting to lure again travellers to the nation.
“It’s simple to go round with out having to be in shut contact with different folks,” Minister of Tourism, Business and Innovation Thordis Kolbrun Gylfadottir informed Euronews in a reside interview.
“And I believe after arduous weeks and months, it might be fairly superb to come back and stroll round in stunning nature with the social distancing (…) we have now right here in Iceland.”
Iceland now plans to reopen to worldwide travellers by June 15 to revive its tourism business, which accounts for round 9 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
“We have to study to reside with COVID-19,” Gylfadottir mentioned. “It’s additionally essential for the financial system to have an open nation.”
Iceland has up to now confirmed simply over 1,800 instances of COVID-19 and 10 deaths from the illness. It has reported solely a handful of recent instances in Could.
Examined on arrival
The federal government says it managed to include the unfold of the virus on the island due to a technique of aggressive testing, contact tracing and quarantine.
Iceland has a inhabitants of simply 350,000, however over a sixth of the nation’s residents (57,000) have been examined for coronavirus up to now, and 20,000 have been put in quarantine, in keeping with the tourism minister.
Icelanders have been complying nicely with social distancing guidelines, and authorities haven’t felt the necessity to introduce any curfews, Gylfadottir mentioned, including that each Icelanders and international vacationers ought to really feel protected within the nation.
When it reopens to vacationers in June, Iceland plans to permit travellers to keep away from a two-week quarantine in the event that they check damaging for the novel coronavirus after they land within the nation.
The total logistics of this have but to be ironed out, however right here’s the thought: Vacationers will likely be examined after they arrive at Reykjavik airport. Whereas they anticipate the outcomes, they are going to be requested to obtain a monitoring app and head to their lodge or different lodging. A number of hours later, they are going to be given the results of their check in a textual content message if it’s damaging, and over a telephone name if it’s optimistic.
So what occurs in case you check optimistic?
“That is one thing we’ll use the following couple of weeks to plan. However we’ll in all probability have housing for those that check optimistic. We is not going to put them again on a aircraft, for apparent causes,” the tourism minister mentioned.
She mentioned authorities will assessment the technique over time and would possibly rethink it because the scenario evolves.
“However the first few weeks we will certainly check everybody. Or they may resolve to go on a 14-day quarantine, which I consider not many vacationers will resolve to do.”
You’ll be able to watch excerpts from the interview within the video participant above.