2023 May Be a Record Year for the Icelandic Tourism Industry Skip to content
Tourists iceland Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon
Photo: Golli. Tourists at Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon.

2023 May Be a Record Year for the Icelandic Tourism Industry

The CEO of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association says 2023 could be a bigger year for tourism than the record years before the pandemic, Vísir reports. New figures from Statistics Iceland show dramatic growth in the industry between 2020 and 2022. Tourism as a proportion of Iceland’s GDP amounted to 7.8% in 2022 compared to 4.8% in 2021. It averaged around 8.2% between 2016 and 2018, but this year is likely to break that record.

Each tourist spending more

The summer tourism season is beginning and Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, CEO of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, says all indicators for the industry’s success are good no matter where you look. “For example the consumption of tourists in the country, which is the highest we’ve ever seen, on variable prices. And that in a year where we have fewer tourists than before, which tells us that the value each tourist is leaving behind is greater than before. Which is also what we want to see,” Jóhannes Þór stated.

Tourism capacity is relative

Asked whether the number of tourists is reaching the maximum that Iceland can receive, Jóhannes Þór answered: “All questions on how many tourists we are able to receive are very relative.” For example, whether most tourists stay in the capital area or whether they spread out across the country is one factor that impacts capacity, according to Jóhanness, who also says that Iceland has built up tourism infrastructure successfully in recent years.

“The goal now must be to achieve stability in a sustainable industry that produces enormous amounts of money for the national economy and builds up society for all of us. That is the goal,” Jóhannes stated.

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