Foreign Tourists Flock to Iceland Skip to content

Foreign Tourists Flock to Iceland

Despite negative coverage of the Icelandic economy in the international media, foreign tourists are arriving in Iceland in ever larger groups to take advantage of the unusually weak króna, which makes Iceland much more inexpensive than it used to be.

When it became clear that the Icelandic economy had entered a downward spiral earlier this year, Icelandic tourism companies changed their market strategies, and focused on advertising their services abroad rather than in Iceland, Morgunbladid reports.

Iceland’s Ministry of Industry and Tourism and the Icelandic Tourist Board supported their marketing initiative and it seems to have delivered the desired results.

Icelandair, for example, has reported twice as many bookings from abroad for the past week compared to the same period last year. However, fewer Icelanders are traveling abroad than in October last year.

The airline Iceland Express has a similar story to tell. At the beginning of this year the majority of sold tickets, 55 percent, were bought by customers in Iceland, while 45 percent were sold to foreign tourists.

Now, in the latter half of this year, the situation has changed completely; 62 percent of tickets have been bought by foreign tourists and 38 percent by Icelandic residents. CEO of Iceland Express Matthías Imsland said that the increase in foreign customers more or less makes up for the drop in domestic sales.

Both airlines are optimistic about the future once the economy reaches equilibrium and the dramatic fluctuations of the ISK have come to an end.

“Now we have to invest more in marketing,” said Erna Hauksdóttir, managing director of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF).

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