The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of Icelandic travel voucher scheme due to the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves prolongation of Icelandic travel voucher scheme*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of an Icelandic scheme offering digital gift vouchers of ISK 5 000 (approximately EUR 33) to individuals, which can be used to buy services from domestic tourism companies.

To be eligible to receive the digital gift vouchers, individuals must be born in 2002 or before, hold an Icelandic ID number and be domiciled in Iceland. The scheme, which was approved on 15 June 2020, aims to provide temporary limited amounts of aid to companies in the tourism sector.

The Icelandic government has committed approximately ISK 625 million (approximately EUR 4.08 million) of the budget which totals ISK 1.5 billion. 826 businesses have already benefitted from the scheme. Currently, around 125 000 individuals have used their digital gift vouchers out of the 280 000 individuals eligible.

Given the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the Icelandic authorities have deemed it vital to prolong the scheme until 31 May 2021 to provide continued support to the tourism industry by increasing domestic demand. The extended duration of the scheme remains in line with the time limits set out in the State Aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The prolongation was notified by Iceland on 15 December 2020. You can read ESA’s decision here.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves prolongation of Icelandic travel voucher scheme due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 décembre 2020, e-Competitions December 2020, Art. N° 98398

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