Just 0.7 percent of tourists who visit Europe by cruise ship visit Iceland, Fréttablaðið reports.
Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
In 2012, 204,000 tourists visited Iceland by cruise ship. In comparison, 2.5 million tourists visit Norway by cruise ship. Cruise ship passengers increased by 16 percent in Europe last year but 28 percent in Norway. Italy has the highest share with 21.2 percent and 6.2 million cruise ship passengers.
According to director of cruise services at Atlantik travel agency, Ólafía Sveinsdóttir, although the increase in cruise passengers to Iceland has not been as large, it has contributed significantly to the increase of number of tourists that come to the country. The ships themselves have also been larger, she said.
The season is also much shorter, from June to September, Ólafía pointed out. “And there are days were there are too many ships arriving at the same time. To have that number of tourists means nothing unless we can offer visitors the services that they want,” she said, referring to buses, guides, restaurants and entertainment. “And on some days, we reach the absolute limit.”