Iceland Protests Trump Travel Ban as Tourism Slump Hits Economy

(Bloomberg) —

© Photographer: Handout/Getty Images Europe ICELAND – APRIL 14: In this handout image provided by Icelandair/The Brooklyn Brothers, Celebratory flight ‘Iceland by Air’ takes a special route over Iceland’s spectacular sights to mark the arrival of Icelandair’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane on April 14, 2018 in Iceland. (Photo by Pall Jokull for Icelandair/The Brooklyn Brothers via Getty Images)

Iceland has complained to the U.S. about President Donald Trump’s decision to include it in a European travel ban, as measures designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus risk exacerbating the crisis in the island’s tourism industry.

Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson met the U.S. ambassador Thursday morning to express Iceland’s “strong protest” against the U.S. decision, according to a government statement.

Read more: Trump Says He’s Restricting Travel From Europe for 30 Days

The north Atlantic island nation is not in the European Union but is a member of the passport-free Schengen border system, which is included in the U.S. travel ban. The government in Reykjavik argues that Iceland should be exempted from the ban because of “its geographical uniqueness and the extensive measures taken by the Icelandic government to curb COVID-19 proliferation.”

Iceland has so far had 90 confirmed cases of the virus.

Tourism makes up almost half of Iceland’s export revenue. The sector was already suffering a sharp slowdown before the virus spread following the collapse of low-cost carrier Wow Air and the grounding of Icelandair’s Boeing Max jets.

Read more: Virus Leaves Iceland’s Post-Crisis Tourism Hopes in Tatters

Shares in Icelandair were down 21%.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at rsigurdardot@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net, Nick Rigillo

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