Tourism: Iceland's Biggest Revenue Generator - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Tourism: Iceland’s Biggest Revenue Generator

Published March 3, 2015

Photo by
Juli Vol

Tourism has become the largest revenue-generating sector in Iceland, surpassing even such stalwart giants as fishing, and bringing in the equivalent of about 1 million ISK per Icelander. RÚV reports that, in 2014 alone, tourists spent about 300 billion ISK; four times greater than what the fishing industry generates.

Helga Árnadóttir, the managing director of The Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF), told reporters that the latest figures are cause for celebration, and believes there is still room for growth. At the same time, she dismissed the idea that there could be a “tourism bubble” at play.

“If we look at it globally, we see that tourism numbers are always increasing around the world, especially in Northern Europe,” she said.

Close to one million tourists visited Iceland last year. Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, says this shows that “tourism has become one of the most important industries in Iceland,” and one of the industries which has shown growth over the past few years.

“This means that we must nurture this industry, so that it will continue to be one of the most important,” she said. “We need to look a little further into the future than we’ve been doing. And we need to dare to take decisions that ensure a sustainable industry.”

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