Tourists Spend More in Iceland with Weak ISK Skip to content

Tourists Spend More in Iceland with Weak ISK

Statistics show that tourists who visited Iceland during the second quarter of this year spent 40 percent more money than tourists spent who visited Iceland in April, May and June in 2007. Economists attribute this increase to the currency rate of the ISK.

“We have never seen as clear signals than now on how important the currency rate of the króna is for the amount of shopping undertaken by foreign tourists,” CEO of Global Refund Helgi Jónsson told Morgunbladid. “Nothing else can explain a 40 percent increase in shopping in the second quarter than the currency rate of the króna.”

CEO of Iceland Refund Jónas Hagan agrees. After the ISK depreciated significantly in March, foreign tourists began shopping more. Estimated total increase in trade by foreign tourists in the first six months of 2008 compared to the same period last year is 20 percent.

Chairman of the Icelandic Tourist Board Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir said the purpose of visitors also has to be taken into account when such calculations are made, explaining that people often come to Iceland to attend conferences during the first six months of the year, and they are known to spend more than common tourists.

However, Atladóttir added, it is obvious that the currency rate of the ISK has had impact on how much they spend.

According to statistics, Norwegian tourists spend more than any other group of foreign tourists in Iceland. On average, a Norwegian tourist spends more in one weekend than a German tourist would spend in ten days.

The number of Russian tourists in Iceland remains the same between years, but they spend up to 70 percent more money than they did last year. Canadian tourists also shop for 70 percent more than in 2007, which can be attributed to direct flights from Toronto.

Managing director of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF) Erna Hauksdóttir said statistics show that the number of foreign visitors in Iceland has increased by seven percent during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2007.

However, if Polish laborers are not taken into account, the actual year-over-year increase of foreign tourists is not very high, Hauksdóttir pointed out.

Statistics on tourism can be difficult to interpret, but Statistics Iceland is currently working on a better way to measure profits from the tourist industry, which may be severely underestimated, Morgunbladid reports.

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