Iceland will need to hire more foreign workers in order to keep up with the rapidly growing tourism industry, says an expert on tourism studies.
“It is clear to me that, if guests to this country increase as has been predicted, and there is every indication that they will, then we will need to bring in workers to meet this growing demand,” Edward H. Huijbens, a professor at the University of Akureyri and a specialist at the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, told Vísir.
According to an assessment made by Landsbanki on the matter, the number of jobs in the tourism industry – which includes hotels, booking offices, tour guides and so forth – have increased from 9,200 in 2008 to 11,000 in 2012 and 14,600 in 2014.
At the same time, the number of tourists is predicted to go from 1.17 million this year to 1.34 million in 2016 and 1.45 million in 2017. Within seven years’ time, the number of tourists who visit Iceland each year could reach 2 million.
It should also be noted that foreign workers comprise a sizable portion of the tourism industry already. According to research conducted by the Social Science department of the University of Iceland for the Directorate of Labour in 2008, about two out of three companies in the tourism industry had foreigner workers on their staff.