Tourist Numbers To Triple Over Four Years - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Tourist Numbers To Triple Over Four Years

Published November 9, 2015

Photos by
Jóna Dís Bragadóttir

It is predicted that by this time next year, there will be three times as many visitors to Iceland as there were in 2011.

RÚV reports that the weakening of the krónur following the bank crash contributed to a surge in tourists to Iceland. However, the krónur has been strengthening against the euro since last summer, and the trend seems to be continuing unabated.

This trend has caused some concern amongst workers in the tourism industry, who believe it could lead to keeping European tourists from visiting Iceland. Nonetheless, it appears as though the tourism bubble is still swelling.

Tourism continues to be Iceland’s biggest revenue generator, 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 at the time 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.

As a result, thousands are still needed to work in tourism jobs, both those existing and yet to be created. Many are looking abroad for potential tourism workers, as there are not enough Icelanders to staff them all.


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