Travel Industry Welcomes Plan to Open Borders

Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, CEO of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association.

Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, CEO of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Vala Hafstað

Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, CEO of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, welcomes the plan announced by the Icelandic government yesterday to open Iceland’s borders by June 15, mbl.is reports. See our report on the plan here .

What remains to be done, he states, is to secure Icelandair’s future operations.

Speaking of the government’s plan to offer tourists a choice between a 14-day quarantine and screening at the airport by June 15, Jóhannes states:

“We see this as a very positive step. What matters most is that we now have a plan to refer to, follow, and execute. We look forward to executing this plan as best we can, in cooperation with authorities.”

“This reduces uncertainty,” he continues. “Businesses can tell those of their customers who are interested in coming, or who have already booked this summer, what is ahead and what to expect. It makes a big difference to businesses to be able to plan ahead.”

From Keflavík International Airport.

From Keflavík International Airport. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Jóhannes states that the government’s decisions are meticulously prepared, and many issues regarding the travel industry have been addressed in a recent report.

“We’ve discovered that opening borders can prove more complicated than closing them,” he admits.

He expects businesses in the travel industry to continue appealing to Icelandic tourists this summer. He stresses the importance for businesses to be able to convince foreign tourists to visit the country, who have not yet canceled their bookings for the latter part of the summer.

Jóhannes cannot stress enough the importance of Icelandair:

“The biggest variable in this problem is air service. Airlines all over the world are in great trouble, and Iceland is no exception. Icelandair is facing severe difficulties, and we emphasize the importance of solving that problem. If this problem isn’t solved, it simply means that the Icelandic travel industry will be a shadow of its former self. We can’t rely on foreign airlines coming here to the extent Icelandair has done.

Jóhannes admits that how well the Icelandic travel industry performs this summer depends to a large extent on disease prevention rules abroad and the reopening of other countries’ borders.

“This summer, we will try to save what can be saved,” he concludes.

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