Want to Attract Wealthy Tourists to North Iceland

Vala Hafstað

Tourism industry officials in Iceland would like to be able to receive small groups of wealthy tourists, who could travel to Akureyri, North Iceland, by private jet, Morgunblaðið reports.

“We see great opportunity in mountain skiing, and we hope authorities will be flexible enough for us to be able to receive such tourists this winter,” states Arnheiður Jóhannsdóttir, managing director of the North Iceland Marketing Office, Visit North Iceland.

She states that interest groups within the tourism industry have been negotiating with authorities and healthcare officials since last spring regarding the easing of restrictions, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The idea is for such small groups of tourists to be able to present the results of a recent COVID-19 test upon arrival and be tested here as well. They would then be transported to their accommodation and go skiing in the mountains, far from inhabited areas. That way, they’d in fact be in quarantine while awaiting the results of their test.

“We see this as a realistic alternative, and we have presented this process to authorities,” Arnheiður explains. “One guide would accompany each group; everything would be disinfected, and staff who work in close proximity to the group would be in quarantine after the group leaves. The heli-skiing companies have great accommodations, so the tourists wouldn’t have to go anywhere else.”

She states that if healthcare officials give them a green light, it won’t be long until luxury travelers arrive. “Travel agencies already have the customers,” she notes. “This would be a large source of income. According to our calculations, the income in North Iceland alone would amount to ISK 1.5 billion (USD 11.5 million; EUR 9.5 million), and that does not include the West Fjords.”

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