Travel gift details announced
Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Iceland’s minister for tourism, industry and innovation, was speaking at the press conference this morning jointly held by the Icelandic Tourist Board and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association.
“We realise that 5,000 krónur to all Icelanders aged 18 and over will not change whether companies live or die. This is first and foremost a symbolic gesture,” Þórdís Kolbrún said at the start of the press conference. “But it will make a difference; especially for companies with smaller capacities.”
The minister spoke in favour of her travel gift bill at its first reading in Alþingi yesterday. The Icelandic parliament is highly likely to pass the bill, which enjoys cross-party support.
The plan is for the travel gift to be in the form of credit accessible through a smartphone app. The credit will be given to around 250,000 people at a cost of up to 1.5 billion krónur to the State. The credit will be valid for use between the start of June and the end of 2020, and can be accepted by all tourism companies with physical operations in Iceland.
It will be possible to transfer the credit between people and each individual will be allowed to pay with up to 15 ‘travel gifts’. Each company will be allowed to take a maximum of 100 million krónur in such credit; which is equivalent to the travel gifts given to 20,000 people.
Þórdís Kolbrún said the scheme has two main objectives: one is simply to encourage people to travel domestically, and the other is to give tourism companies the chance to make their own contributions in the form of innovative discounts and deals for use in combination with travel gifts. Such deals are already starting to appear: “We see right away that companies have being working flat out,” the minister said; adding that she is proud of this unusual government initiative.
UPDATE: RÚV English requested clarification from the tourism ministry for the definition of an Icelander for eligibility in this scheme. The response was that people in Iceland who have a kennitala and are over 18 years old will be eligible, regardless of citizenship.