2.3 Million Tourists to Visit Iceland in 2023, Model Predicts

tourists on perlan

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.

Predictive models

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.

Palliative Care Services to be Expanded in South Iceland

The Minister for Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided to grant funding to establish four rooms dedicated to palliative and end-of-life care to be managed by the Health Care Institution of South Iceland, RÚV reports. The new facilities and services are expected to cost ISK 43 million a year [$313,411; €263,007].

The Health Care Institution of South Iceland (HSU) serves roughly 20,000 people in the region and operates eight health care clinics, a hospital with 62 sickbeds in Selfoss, and health care service for the prison Litla Hraun. The institution’s new palliative care team will oversee treatment for patients nearing the end of their lives and will also support nurses and doctors working at the local health clinic and nursing homes.

The establishment of palliative care facilities outside of the capital area and around the country is in accordance with the government’s 2018 – 2030 healthcare policy, which aims to provide ‘the right care in the right place.’ The idea is that rural residents should not have to travel to the capital for vital health care services, not least palliative and end-of-life care. According to a working group focused on the future of palliative care in Iceland, this will not only better serve rural patients at the end of their lives and their families, but will also ease some of the pressure currently put on the National University Hospital’s ER.