A COVID-19 test costs about $114.

By Cailey Rizzo
June 22, 2020
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As Iceland prepares to reopen its borders to foreign travelers on July 1, one tourism company is hoping to lure back tourists by offering to pay for their mandatory COVID-19 tests.

Iceland’s new border rules require travelers from abroad to either undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival or spend the first two weeks of their trip in quarantine. However, excursion tour company Arctic Adventures has promised to "eliminate the burden" and cover the cost of the $114 (ISK 15,000) test so their clients can start their travel around Iceland quickly after landing.

“Testing costs aside, Iceland should be an attractive destination for pandemic travelers this summer," Arctic Adventures CEO, Styrmir Þór Bragason, explained in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, which makes social distancing quite easy."

Test results are delivered within 24 hours via Iceland’s Rakning C-19 tracing app. Once test results prove they are healthy, visitors are free to travel. Visitors who are confirmed positive with the virus will be asked to go into quarantine, with free accommodation provided, if necessary.

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Icelandic tour operators are taking precautions to prevent any potential spread of the virus. Guided tours will be done in small groups to ensure proper social distancing within vehicles.

Iceland’s COVID-19 impact was one of the lowest in the world. The country only reported 1,823 confirmed cases and 10 deaths, according to the Icelandic Health Board. In the past weeks, life has resumed almost to normal, with gatherings of up to 500 people now permitted. Face masks are not necessary and social distancing rules are not enforced, CNN reported. Major attractions that have been closed since March, like the famous geothermal Blue Lagoon Spa, reopened to visitors last week.

“Iceland has managed the pandemic exceptionally well, and that is due to widespread testing,” Bragason added. “Our goal is to make this process easier by covering costs and revitalize our tourism sector.”

It is unclear how long Iceland’s on-arrival testing requirements will last. The country’s chief epidemiologist recommended testing at the airport for at least six months.