The new director of The Icelandic Travel Industry Association is worried about a decrease in Central European tourists, saying they “fit well culturally” in Iceland, spending more money and traveling to more of the countryside than Asians and Americans. She said in a separate interview that an increase in Asian and American tourists “is not exactly the best for Iceland as a tourist destination.”
Bjarnheiður Hallsdóttir spoke with radio station Rás 1 yesterday morning to discuss tourism matters. While there has been an increase in Asian and American tourists, she expressed concerns about the decrease in Central Europeans.
“Yes, there is reason [to worry] because these are tourists that we’ve gotten good returns from in recent years,” she said. “They treat the countryside well, and fit well in the culture. They stay a long time and travel all over the country, which is very important for the countryside not being left out.”
In another interview with MBL, she described Central Europeans as “our best market”, and said that the increase in Asian and American tourists was not good news for Iceland.
“[Asians and Americans] stay for a shorter time and travel less around the country,” she said. “They stay mostly in the southwest. This development is not exactly the best for Iceland as a tourist destination.”
Bjarnheiður attributes the decrease in Central Europeans to the current exchange rate, and is concerned that Iceland may be seeing the beginnings of a worrying trend in the tourism industry.