Examples of tourists being charged for a single room what most Icelanders would pay for an entire apartment have been brought to light. A city official told reporters that Reykjavík is having difficulty keeping up with the increased numbers of tourists to the city.
In taking a cursory glance at the tourist rental market in the capital, RÚV found numerous instances of rent rates directed at tourists that were exorbitantly high. For example, a room for three people with a shared bathroom at a downtown guesthouse is charging 159,000 ISK per night during Culture Night. In another instance, a room for four – with two beds, a bunk bed and a shared toilet – is going for 193,000 ISK on that night.
These rates are actually comparable to what an Icelander would pay in monthly rent for a modest apartment near downtown. Áshildur Bragadóttir, the director of Visit Reykjavík, told reporters that the city is “bursting” when it comes to guest accommodation.
“You could actually say that the city is bursting,” she told reporters. “Tourists have increased much faster than expected, and we are dealing with a 35% increase in tourists in the first months of this year. It takes a long time to build guest accommodation in the city – it takes two to three years to build a hotel and at the same time tourists increase very quickly, so we are certainly dealing with a great demand right now.”
At the same time, Áshildur emphasised that individual owners of apartments in the city have lightened the load a little bit by renting out rooms on their own property. She also does not believe that Reykjavík is all filled up; rather, tourists should be provided with accommodation choices elsewhere in the country.
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