From Iceland — Levels Of Tourism Almost Unchanged Between This Year And Last

Levels Of Tourism Almost Unchanged Between This Year And Last

Published September 9, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Raffaele Piano

Despite fears that the fall of WOW Air would be devastating to Iceland’s tourism industry, the actual numbers reflect almost no change in numbers of tourists between last year and this one, according to data from Statistics Iceland.

According to their findings, layovers did see a significant drop between May-June of 2018 and the same period of this year—a 29% decrease was noticed. During this time, two airlines in fact ceased operations: Primera Air in October 2018 and WOW Air last March.

Despite this, levels of tourism in Iceland were almost unchanged between the years, with a decrease of only 0.2%. Broken down by sectors of the tourism industry, a clearer picture emerges.

Bookings for accommodation remained unchanged. While there was a minor decrease in restaurant services (0.2%), car rentals actually increased a bit, by about 2%. Tourist offices and tour companies remained unchanged; more exactly, tour offices that sell trips abroad saw a decrease in sales by 10.7%, but those who sell tours within Iceland itself saw sales go up by 2%.

With all this in mind, the recent news that an American arms dealer bought WOW Air and plans to begin operations again in October may actually contribute to the tourism industry growing further. As such, fears of the imminent collapse of the Icelandic economy due to the collapse of tourism still have yet to materialise.

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