Are too many tourists visiting Iceland?

Dec 14, 2017


An article from a well-respected website has recently been published with the title ‘Are too many tourists visiting Iceland?’ We strongly believe the answer is no, and here are our reasons why…

At least 1.7 million people visited Iceland last year with numbers expected to rise to 2.4 million by the end of 2017. After the eruption of … – the volcano that grounded air traffic across Europe for a whole week – many feared it would be a disaster for tourism, but what actually happened was quite the opposite. The sudden boom in interest in visiting Iceland has helped the economy to grow at more than 7% each year with unemployment falling to less than 3%. It’s fair to say that this massive increase in the tourism industry has definitely contributed to the successful rise of the Icelandic economy.

Not only has this tourist influx benefited Iceland’s economy, but is has also helped travel businesses to flourish. Companies such as Airbnb have benefited massively from this boom as the demand for apartments and rooms has increased.

‘Inspired by Iceland’ are using this tourism boom to help create more informed tourists. The Iceland Academy is an online tool aimed to help educate visitors who may not be aware of Icelandic customs. Additionally, as the amount of tourists continues to increase, it is important that visitors are shown how to properly interact with the country’s one-of-a-kind environment. By providing this resource they are helping to preserve the islands unique setting to avoid it being destroyed by the many tourists.

However, there has been some negative impacts for the Icelandic citizens. With the unpredicted rise in tourism, much infrastructure has been unable to cope with the rising numbers. In summer, most of Reykjavik’s restaurants are filled to capacity, there is a shortage in hotel rooms and there is a lack of public bathrooms around the cities and towns.

Also, while companies like Airbnb have thrived off this increase in tourism, house prices in the most popular areas such as Reykjavik have increased, displacing local residents and effectively loosing communities. The capital used to be ‘fashionable for young people’ but with the price of housing rising, it is becoming too high for them to afford it.

The pressure on the popular sites in the South West have certainly increased, but there are other towns that are eager for travelers to visit them. The Reykjanes Peninsula, West Island and Snaefellsnes Peninsula are some of the areas that still have plenty to discover.

Although the main areas and attractions in Iceland such as the Golden Circle, The Blue Lagoon and Kirkjufell Mountain have become massively populated due to tourists, there is still adventure to be had and plenty to discover on the island.

Rayburn Tours offers you many alternative excursions to help you and your group discover the lesser-known parts of Iceland. Venture underground to the Vatnshellir Cave, explore the world’s third largest icecap at Vatnajökull National Park or spend a day relaxing in the Secret Lagoon.

Want to start planning your trip?

Visit our website or call us on 01332 347 828 to speak to our expert team and start planning your Icelandic adventure now!