From Iceland — Spending From Locals And Tourists Is Making A Comeback

Spending From Locals And Tourists Is Making A Comeback

Published June 15, 2021

Brittnee Kiner
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Foreign tourists and their wallets are in full force this year, compared to last year. Credit card charges accounted for 5.6 billion ISK in May, reports Stundin. Alcohol sales are on the decline, following a surge for the industry during the coronavirus epidemic.

Tourists are making a comeback

The drop in the number of tourists during 2020 naturally led to higher spending by tourists now that they have begun arriving in the country; credit card use by foreign tourists is 95% higher than in May of last year. The figures are derived from Rannsóknarsetri verslunarinnar, as its data provides that foreign credit card turnover totaled 5.6 billion ISK in May. They also spent more than 1.3 billion ISK on “various tourism services.” Tourists’ next big expense was shopping, which came to 1.1 billion ISK spent during the same month. Accommodation accounted for 760 million ISK in expenses for foreign tourists.

American tourists spent the most in Iceland during May, as they claim more than a third of the foreign card turnover. Unsurprisingly, tourists from the US have come in full force since border restrictions loosened. Next up were Germans, accounting for 7%, and lastly the British with 6.5%.

Locals drinking less and exploring more

The total credit card turnover was 86.3 billion ISK in May, 15.7% higher than in May of last year. Additionally, Icelanders’ credit card usage was 10% higher this May than the previous. Purchasing domestic accommodation, a “staycation,” increased significantly this year with many making plans to travel domestically this summer.

Perhaps as bars and restaurants have begun returning to normal, alcohol sales at Vínbúðin have decreased; sales for this May were 8.4% lower than last year. There’s no telling whether people have actually started drinking less or if they might just be going out more… but it’s probably the latter.

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