Iceland has announced that from the next week onwards, it will open its borders for tourists coming from outside Europe as it seeks to attract more tourists to help revive its pandemic-hit economy.
However, this applies to only those who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Also, visitors must provide proof of vaccination with a vaccine that has been certified by the European Medicines Agency, which excludes Chinese and Russian vaccines.
Until now, the country's international borders were closed for passengers outside EU, EFTA, EEA and the Schengen area.
"The world has been through a lot in the past twelve months, and we are all hoping for a slow and safe return to normalcy," Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said in a statement. "This also includes the resumption of the opportunity to travel, which is valuable to culture, trade and enterprise."
Under the rules, people from EU, EFTA, EEA and Schengen area are not required to quarantine and are also exempted from testing, provided that they show a certification of having been or a certificate confirming antibodies.
&ldquoFrom the point of view of disease prevention, it does not matter where an individual is coming from if he has a certificate to the effect that he has been vaccinated,&rdquo said Pordis Kolbrun, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation.
According to reports, the North Atlantic country, which will become one of the first to open its borders since the beginning of the pandemic, saw tourist numbers plummet by 75% last year to just under half a million, causing its economy to contract by 6.6%.