Iceland is officially opening to vaccinated American tourists and its national airline is rushing to launch cheap flights from the US to attract visitors

  • Icelandair is rebuilding its US route network as Iceland opens to vaccinated tourists.
  • Regular flights to Boston, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. are scheduled for May.
  • Americans need only their paper vaccination card to enter the country.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The summer of vaccinated travel now includes Iceland as a potential destination for Americans.

Starting April 6, vaccinated travelers from the US will be allowed into Iceland with just their paper vaccination certificate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the first European country to open its doors to Americans with no testing or quarantine required for visitors upon arrival, creating a potential boom for tourism and the country’s national airline.

Icelandair is already ramping up its US network by resuming regular service to five American cities in May, in addition to its current service to Boston. New York, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. are slated to be the first to receive the non-stop flights again after a nearly year-long pause for many.

Birna Osk Einarsdottir, Icelandair’s chief commercial officer, is “optimistic,” that the airline will return to its full slate of planned US destinations for 2021 in June, just in time for the summer travel season. Service to Portland, Oregon has already been scheduled for July 1, and flights to destinations including Orlando, Florida are planned for the summer.

“The plan is, of course, to return to full strength as soon as possible in the US, our largest market, but realistically, it might take 2-3 years for the route network to be back to 2019 size,” Einarsdottir told Insider.

Video: Pilot dead after plane crash near Cave Spring, officials say (WXIA-TV Atlanta)

  • a view of a city street at night: Spring street police activity in Midtown

    Spring street police activity in Midtown

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • Armed robbery suspect hit police officer with vehicle, leading to gunfire

    Armed robbery suspect hit police officer with vehicle, leading to gunfire

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a group of people on a field: What happened to COVID cases in other states that dropped restrictions?

    What happened to COVID cases in other states that dropped restrictions?

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a person holding a sign: Family remembers Jamarion Robinson, shot 76 times in police raid, on his birthday

    Family remembers Jamarion Robinson, shot 76 times in police raid, on his birthday

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a close up of a man: 80-year-old Conyers man loses home, car, truck, and dog in fire

    80-year-old Conyers man loses home, car, truck, and dog in fire

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Latina owned production company breaks ground in Rome, Georgia

    Latina owned production company breaks ground in Rome, Georgia

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a person lying on a bed: Georgia Tech student's invention to help Atlanta's homeless population earns her awards

    Georgia Tech student's invention to help Atlanta's homeless population earns her awards

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • Search continues for suspect in deadly RaceTrac shooting; Reward offered

    Search continues for suspect in deadly RaceTrac shooting; Reward offered

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • chart, histogram: Coronavirus in Georgia | Slight uptick in new cases, deaths

    Coronavirus in Georgia | Slight uptick in new cases, deaths

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a man and a woman posing for a picture: Family remembers man killed in hit-and-run on I-20: 'We will miss him every single day'

    Family remembers man killed in hit-and-run on I-20: 'We will miss him every single day'

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a large building: Opening day for MLB

    Opening day for MLB

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a person posing for the camera: Family desperate for help finding man missing since February

    Family desperate for help finding man missing since February

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a man looking at the camera: 29-year-old missing for several weeks

    29-year-old missing for several weeks

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo

    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a view of a city street at night: Spring street police activity in Midtown
    Spring street police activity in Midtown
    There was a heavy police presence on the 900 block of Spring St. in Midtown Atlanta early Friday morning.

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo
    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • Armed robbery suspect hit police officer with vehicle, leading to gunfire
    Armed robbery suspect hit police officer with vehicle, leading to gunfire
    Heavy police presence was spotted on Spring Street during the early hours of the investigation.

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo
    WXIA-TV Atlanta

  • a group of people on a field: What happened to COVID cases in other states that dropped restrictions?
    What happened to COVID cases in other states that dropped restrictions?
    Georgia's COVID restrictions will soon be loosened. Here's a look at what happened after other states dropped theirs.

    WXIA-TV Atlanta Logo
    WXIA-TV Atlanta

UP NEXT

Pent-up demand also isn’t driving up Icelandair’s prices too high as the country reopens. A new fare sale is promising round-trip prices as low as $349 in a bid to quickly drum up tourism. The airline is also waiving change fees to give flyers greater flexibility when traveling.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population – and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

Iceland doesn’t currently require a “vaccine passport” for travel and travelers can enter with just their paper vaccination certificates. But some of Icelandair’s destination countries, including those in the EU, have expressed a desire to implement the standardized protocol and the airline is ready to begin accepting them.

“It would be extremely good for travel to restart if we could join forces in that and find a common mechanism for this,” Einarsdottir said.

The word is out about Iceland and its flag carrier isn’t the only airline trying to get tourists to visit the Land of Fire and Ice. Delta Air Lines is similarly restarting Iceland services on the heels of the country’s reopening. Existing routes to Reykjavik from New York and Minneapolis are scheduled to resume in May, along with a new route from Boston.

American travelers have successfully been entering the country since March 18, when Iceland first began accepting inculcated visitors. Andy Luten, one of the first American tourists to enter Iceland under the new rules, told Insider in March that entering the country was surprisingly easy, despite the ongoing pandemic.

But while vaccinated American visitors can visit with ease, Iceland won’t be the stepping stone to mainland Europe as it once was. American citizens without residency or citizenship in a Schengen Area country won’t be allowed to travel further into Europe than Iceland, at least until the US and European Union ease their mutual travel restrictions

“Until then – welcome to Iceland!” Einarsdottir said.

Source: Read Full Article