Tourism in Iceland

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Tourism in Iceland has become a more significant part of the national economy[timeframe?]. The tourism industry was estimated to contribute to 5.9% of the country's GDP as of 2009.[1] In 2012, an estimated 672,000 tourists visited Iceland,[2] and tourism contributed 23.5% in export revenue.[3]


Tourism to Iceland has grown steadily since the 1990s. In 2000, the annual number of visitors exceeded the total resident population for the first time. Since then, tourism has grown by about 7.3% on average each year.[4] Some 360,000 people visited Iceland in 2004,[5] compared with 485,000 in 2007,[6] 500,000 in 2008 and 672,000 in 2012. The number of nights spent was 0.585 million in 2000 and 3.7 million in 2012.

Jobs in the tourism industry were estimated at 7,385 in 2000 and at 9,241 in 2009 (5.1% of the total workforce).[7]

Tourist Demographics[edit]

Evolution of the annual number of foreign tourists in Iceland.

Iceland is well known for its untouched nature and unique atmosphere.[8] Iceland receives the highest number of tourists during summer (June–August). In 2014, around 42% of visitors arrived in Iceland during its summer months, proportionally a slight decrease compared to the previous two years, the percentage of winter visitors having increased by over 4% in the same period.[9] As of year 2014, Iceland's greatest tourism markets comprises tourists from Central/South Europe, followed by those from Other areas, North America, the UK, then the Nordic countries. In terms of visitors from individual countries, the top 5 for 2014 were the UK, USA, Germany, France and Norway. Canada showed the largest percentage increase in visitor numbers in the 2013-2014 period, with an increase of over 60% year on year. [10]

Popular Tourist Destinations[edit]

In 2012, a survey was carried out by the Icelandic Tourist Board, and the following 10 destinations were most frequently visited out of a list of 54 locations. [11]

Rank Area Percentage
1 Akureyri 43.1%
2 Borgarnes 27.5%
3 Þingvellir/Geysir/Gullfoss (The Golden Circle) 26.7%
4 Skagafjörður 20.3%
5 Mývatn 18.2%
6 Siglufjörður 18.0%
7 Egilsstaðir/Hallormsstaður 17.7%
8 Vík 15.1%
9 Húsavík 14.8%
10 Westmann-Islands 14.3%

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

regional sites of the Icelandic Tourist Board