Tourism To Iceland Begins To Decrease - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Tourism To Iceland Begins To Decrease

Published May 11, 2018

Main photo by
Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir

April 2018 has seen a significant decrease in arrivals to Iceland from the same month last year, with the largest overall reduction being with American and British tourists.

According to new data from the Icelandic Tourist Board, departing non-Icelandic passengers at Keflavík International Airport numbered some 147,000 people in April, down by about 4% from April 2017. Americans and Brits remained the largest tourist groups in Iceland, but they have also significantly decreased their numbers between last year and this one.

In fact, there were decreases for all of the top twelve visiting nationalities, with the exceptions of Poland, Canada and Spain.

While Chinese tourists have decreased, other Asian tourists – in particular, those hailing from Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan – have increased. Likely to the great consternation of the director of The Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Bjarnheiður Hallsdóttir, who last month expressed dismay at an increase in Asian tourists.

“[Asians and Americans] stay for a shorter time and travel less around the country,” she said at the time. “They stay mostly in the southwest. This development is not exactly the best for Iceland as a tourist destination.”

At the same time, she said that central Europeans were “our best market” for a number of reasons.

“[Central European tourists] treat the countryside well, and fit well in the culture,” she said. “They stay a long time and travel all over the country, which is very important for the countryside not being left out.”

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