Reykjavík Headed for a Record Year in Tourism Skip to content

Reykjavík Headed for a Record Year in Tourism

After a particularly good summer and fall, it appears that 2009 will be record-breaking in terms of foreign tourists visiting Iceland’s capital, according to statistics published by the Reykjavík marketing office earlier this month.

The tourist information center in central Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Departures of foreign travelers through Keflavík International Airport were 395,573 from January to September 2009, which is a 0.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Nearly all foreign tourists who come to Iceland, or 95 percent, visit the capital. Accommodation nights booked by foreign tourists in the capital region increased by almost three percent during the first nine months of this year compared to January through September in 2008.

Additionally, 68,000 cruise ship passengers visited Reykjavík this year, up from 59,000 in 2008, which is a 15 percent increase, according to information from Associated Icelandic Ports.

Visits to the Tourist Information Center on Adalstraeti in central Reykjavík have increased by 24 percent year-over-year. Tourists are also more eager to book various tours and to shop because of the low exchange rate of the Icelandic króna.

The Reykjavík marketing office is estimating that by the end of this year, tourists will have purchased goods worth approximately ISK 4 billion (USD 32 million, EUR 21 million). Icelandic design products are especially popular.

Furthermore, tourists visit museums, galleries, exhibitions, parks, swimming pools and Videy island more frequently than in previous years, and participate in festivals such as Gay Pride, Culture Night, the Reykjavík International Film Festival and Iceland Airwaves.

If this development continues until the end of December, Reykjavík is heading for a record-breaking year, the capital’s marketing office concludes, even though the World Tourism Organization is predicting a four to six percent recession in tourism on a global scale.

Click here to read other recent news about tourism.

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