Every Icelander aged over 18 will receive a voucher worth 5,000 ISK to be spent on domestic tourism from the government. The first details of the programme were revealed in an introductory meeting broadcast on RÚV this morning.
Around 250,000 Icelanders will receive a 5,000 ISK (€32.36) digital voucher, costing the treasury around 1.25 bil ISK (roughly €8 mil).
The vouchers will be valid from early June until 31st December 2020. They can be used at tourism businesses including restaurants, entertainment venues, car rentals, hotels, museums, saunas, privately-owned swimming pools and camping sites.
Notably they will be transferable, so if you don’t want to use them you can give the credits to a friend. The government will shortly launch an app through which you can claim your voucher provided you are over 18 and have an Icelandic identification number.
Tourism companies with premises in Iceland will be permitted to accept a maximum of 20,000 vouchers equivalent to 100 million ISK.
Companies must register on Ísland.is in order to be eligible to accept them; registration will open in the coming days. The Ferðalag.is website will be launched shortly to provide more information about the scheme.
Tourism Minister Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir acknowledged that the scheme will “not change whether companies live or die”, explaining that it is “first and foremost a symbolic operation”. The minister wants to grant Icelanders an opportunity to travel around their own country, particularly given this summer is likely to be much quieter than usual. She also hopes the measure will go some way to support smaller tourism businesses and encourages companies to introduce special offers for voucher users.
As reported, the tourism industry in Iceland has been very hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first week of the government’s reduced employment scheme around half of all applications came from tourism sector workers. It is hoped the industry will begin to bounce back when the country re-opens to tourists on June 15th, but many companies are likely to continue to suffer from the economic impact of the crisis long into the future.
Note – this article has been updated.
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