It goes without saying that we’re probably all itching to go somewhere, the question just comes down to when it’s responsible to travel again, and deciding if the answer varies based on where you go.
That’s why I think it’s worth monitoring the plans being proposed by some countries to reopen to tourists, to get a sense of what the future might look like.
Iceland’s plan to open to tourists as of June 15, 2020
Iceland’s Prime Minister has this week announced plans for a big summer tourist season. Iceland plans to welcome tourists from around the globe no later than June 15, 2020, though there will be some conditions.
Most notably, visitors will have to do one of the following:
- Go into a 14-day quarantine
- Take a COVID-19 test upon arrival
- Provide a certificate of a recent negative COVID-19 test
Presumably the most exciting option here is being able to take a test upon arrival. You won’t even have to wait at the airport, but rather you’ll be able to enter the country, and will receive results same day.
The country is still ironing out some details, like how much the COVID-19 testing will cost. Furthermore, the government isn’t ruling out the possibility of opening up the country earlier, if preparations can be made in time.
Furthermore, visitors will have to install an app so that there can be contact tracing.
Iceland has handled this pandemic well
What makes Iceland welcoming tourists interesting is that the country has by all accounts done a great job handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The country:
- Has just over 350,000 citizens
- Has just about a dozen active COVID-19 cases, and no new cases for the past six days
- Has done among the most testing of any country (in terms of percentage of the population)
Is it responsible to travel to Iceland?
I think there’s a lot of value in at least openly discussing what a return to vacationing will look like. Personally I’m not ready to plan anything yet as I want to see how this unfolds, though I wonder if Iceland should be at the top of peoples’ bucket lists for those looking to travel abroad?
When I recently wrote about the potential considerations for deciding when it’s “responsible” to travel, it seems that many concerns are addressed by Iceland’s plan:
- Iceland wants tourists to visit, so it’s not like you’re going somewhere you’re not welcome
- Iceland has done a great job with the COVID-19 pandemic, so this is a country that has taken the threat seriously and also acted decisively
- Iceland is a country where social distancing is easier than many other places in the world, given the focus on nature and relatively low population density
- Iceland will offer testing on arrival, making Iceland one of the first countries to encourage this for all inbound tourists
In other words, it seems Iceland is addressing most of the concerns people could have about traveling, short of just waiting for a vaccine?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing everyone should go to Iceland, and for that matter I’m wondering if encouraging widespread tourism could backfire.
But I also think it’s at least worth discussing a country that has handled this situation well and has a plan for bringing back tourism.
Iceland plans to welcome tourists from around the world as of June 15, 2020. The country plans to offer testing on arrival to allow people to skip a 14-day quarantine, though it’s not yet known how much that will cost.
Personally I’m not quite ready to travel yet, and once I do travel I plan to travel domestically first. However, I will say that if I were to travel internationally this summer, Iceland might just be at the top of my list based on how well the country has handled the situation so far, and the plan the country has for tourists.
What do you make of Iceland opening up to tourists this summer and offering testing on arrival? Would you feel safe traveling there? Do you think it’s more “responsible” to travel to Iceland than elsewhere?