January was a banner month in terms of the number of tourists visiting Iceland, exceeding all expectations.
Vísir reports that some 22,000 visitors came to Iceland in January alone. This is about 3,500 more visitors than came in the same month last year, showing an increase of 18.5%.
Tourism is becoming an increasingly important business for Iceland, especially now, as the economy struggles to get back on its feet. And while other media sources point out the advantages to be had by visiting a country with a tanked economy, it is also important to look at how tourism has increased in Iceland, in good economic times and bad.
In 1950, 4,383 people came to Iceland as tourists. This nearly tripled some ten years later, and then quadrupled ten years after that. For some reason, the increase in tourism from 1970 to 1980 wasn’t that great, with only 65,921 tourists coming here that year. That figure would more than double ten years later, and then double again ten years after that.
2010 saw a total of 494,769 tourists arriving in Iceland. The Ministry of Industry considers tourism one of Iceland’s major industries, alongside fishing and aluminium smelting.
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