Published January 6, 2017
The number of visitors to Iceland increased by 40% between 2015 and last year, and there are as yet no signs these numbers will wane any time soon.
Going solely by those who arrived in Iceland by way of Keflavík International Airport, RÚV reports that 1,767,726 people visited Iceland last year. Those who arrived via the Reykjavík airport, the Norræna ferry, or cruise ships were not counted with these figures; however, foreign citizens living in Iceland were.
In 2015, 1,261,938 people visited Iceland, making last year’s figures an increase of about 40%, and exceeds predictions made earlier this year about how many tourists would visit Iceland in 2016.
As reported, the latest economic forecast from Landsbanki shows that tourism comprises the lion’s share of Iceland’s economic growth, and the country would be at a virtual stand-still without it. In keeping with this, it is estimated that the number of tourists in Iceland will more than double over the next three years.
The report shows that in 2016, Iceland’s total economic growth will be 6.1%. Without the tourism industry, growth would be at 1.2%.
Looking forward, the bank predicts that non-tourism growth will increase slightly over the next three years, while tourism will contribute significantly less with each coming year. This will mean the country’s economic growth as a whole will decline, from 6.1% today to less than half that by the end of 2019.
Interestingly, the declining contributions of tourism to the country’s economic growth will be inversely proportionate to the numbers of tourists actually visiting the country.
While over a million tourists will have visited Iceland by the end of this year, these numbers will continue to increase. About 2.5 million tourists are predicted to visit Iceland in 2019, despite the fact that the increase in tourists is expected to steadily decrease.