A predictive model expects 1.7 million tourists to visit Iceland through Keflavík Airport this year. The model expects this number to increase by 600,000 in 2023.
Dr. Gunnar Haraldsson, founder and CEO of the economic consultancy firm Intellecon, has led the development of a statistical model employed, among other things, to forecast tourist visits to Iceland. The project began in the fall of 2020.
Yesterday, Gunnar addressed the audience at a meeting hosted by the Icelandic Tourist Board. In his lecture, he introduced the model and some of its predictions, among them – that 1.7 million tourists would visit Iceland in 2022.
Speaking to RÚV, Gunnar stated that the model predicted 600,000 more tourists to visit Iceland in 2023: “Next year, we predict that number to increase to 2.3 million. All of this comes with caveats since there are a number of uncertainties that can impact the model.”
Alongside forecasting visits, Gunnar Haraldsson and his team also predict revenue and overnight stays. “We’re looking into credit-card turnover. The model predicts that tourists will spend ca. ISK 250 billion ($1.7 billion / €1.8 billion) this year and ISK 330 billion ($2.3 billion / €2.3 billion) next year. And so you can say that tourists spend a considerable amount on products and services in Iceland. Our numbers are predicated on data from local credit card companies,” Gunnar told RÚV.
Gunnar added that winter tourism was picking up steam, with some indications that seasonal fluctuations are gradually evening out. Overnight stays in 2022 are predicted to reach 4.5 million but will rise to 5.5 million next year. The model further predicts that 3.5 million tourists will visit Iceland in the year 2030. As noted in the press release by the Icelandic Tourist Board, this would mean a 50% increase from 2018, which was a record year for tourist visits to Iceland.