From Iceland — Foreigners Still Needed For Tourism Jobs

Foreigners Still Needed For Tourism Jobs

Published May 4, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Magnús Andersen

Jobs in the tourist industry, especially in the countryside, are in dire need of workers, and foreigners may be more likely hires than Icelanders, mostly on account of mobility.

As summertime is now upon us, tourism will be ramping up into high gear all over Iceland. While jobs in the tourism industry are now opening up more, Vísir reports that tourism companies in the countryside are having difficulties convincing Icelanders to take these jobs.

Soffía Gísladóttir, the department head of the Directorate of Labour in Northeast Iceland, told reporters that mobility makes hiring locals for tourism jobs in the countryside a challenge.

“Icelanders looking for jobs are stuck where they are, and are not at all ready to go out into the countryside where year-round tourism jobs are available,” she said. “It is very difficult for people looking for work to pick up and move somewhere else.”

As reported, Edward H. Huijbens, a professor at the University of Akureyri and a specialist at the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, has predicted a tourism industry boom, and stressed that foreign workers will be crucial to meet the demand.

“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,” he said at the time.

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.

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