The number of American tourists to Iceland declined sharply between 2018 and 2019, while the other top nationalities to Iceland remained relatively the same. Arion Bank considers American tourists to be especially “valuable” because they tend to spend proportionately more money than others tourists despite usually staying in Iceland for shorter periods.
As Kjarninn reports, according to data from the Icelandic Tourist Board, American tourists in Iceland numbered about 97,000 in August 2018. That has since declined to about 62,000 in August of this year, marking a drop of about 35%.
An assessment from Arion Bank posits that WOW Air was bringing about 40% of North American tourists to Iceland. With WOW’s fall last March, these lower numbers this year should come as no surprise.
American tourists who arrived by WOW Air, the bank states, tended to have shorter stays, rented apartments through AirBnB and similar services rather than book hotel rooms, and tended to spend less money than those who arrived by other airlines. Regardless, Arion Bank still contends that American tourists are especially “valuable” as they tend to spend more money in a shorter amount of time than other nationalities.
Now that Icelandair has grown its market share of flights to Iceland from about 33% to roughly 45%, and with other airlines possibly on the horizon this year, tourism numbers for the whole of 2019 may show signs of improvement.
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