The world is in trouble and all the countries are trying their best to bring the wheels of their economies back in place. All countries have been hit hard by the pandemic and Europe is no exception. Lately, there has been some ease in the movement of people within the countries but borders are still sealed. However, Iceland has announced that they are ready to welcome the tourists again. Yes you read it right, you can visit Iceland with some conditions after June 15, 2020.
Iceland’s economy highly depends on the tourism industry. Summer is the peak season for travel, and so, the Icelandic government is devising ways to safely allow an influx of tourists. Earlier, no one from outside the Schengen area was allowed to visit Iceland, and those visiting from within the Schengen area were to go into 2-weeks quarantine. From May 15th, nationals of the Faroe Islands and Greenland have been allowed to visit without quarantine. Currently the country has the most comprehensive testing regimen and has reported just 15 active coronavirus cases, with no new cases reported in last ten days.
Quarantine and testing facilities for arriving tourists
All those arriving in the country will be required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine, but there will be an option for tourists to skip this step. Airport authorities will provide COVID-19 testing facilities upon arrival and will ensure that results are received on the same day. Testing will be done in collaboration with the National University Hospital of Iceland. Also, tourists can present a clean bill of health from the health authorities in their home countries. Those with negative test results will not be required to quarantine and can go out to explore Iceland. It is mandatory for visitors to install the Ranking C-19 contagion tracing app which is similar to Arogya Setu App in India.
The bigger challenge for tourists
Even if Icelandic government permits the entry of tourists from across the world, it will not be easy for people to reach Iceland. Most of the global airlines seem to remain grounded at least till July as the demand has highly receded. In fact, Norwegian Air will remain in “hibernation mode” until 2021, while British Airways has planned to commence the full-fledged operations, not before July 2020.
Icelandair Airlines can play an important role in ferrying tourists to Iceland, but at present the airline is operating just three routes, to and from Boston, London Heathrow and Stockholm. This news comes as a breath of fresh air for the tourism industry. However, the airline itself is on the verge of bankruptcy so the chances of commencing new routes are thin. We hope as the demand increases other Airlines might introduce new flights to Iceland. Anyway, we will have to wait patiently till we receive final announcement from Iceland.