Iceland: Tourist arrivals from Russia and China surged in 2013
London, UK - In 2008, the Icelandic travel and tourism industry witnessed a considerable downturn due to the difficult economic situation in the country and the collapse of 3 commercial banks.
London, UK – In 2008, the Icelandic travel and tourism industry witnessed a considerable downturn due to the difficult economic situation in the country and the collapse of 3 commercial banks. Iceland’s GDP dropped by nearly 6.6% in 2009, and in 2010, the decline was 4.1%. Interestingly, the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 benefited the tourism and travel industry, as many people came to Iceland to see the volcanic activity. While high unemployment rates in the country adversely influence the performance of the Icelandic travel and tourism industry. Recently, the country has witnessed an increase in the arrivals of tourists from the emerging countries. Between January and September 2013, the total number of the Russian tourists, passing through Keflavík International Airport, grew by 54.3%, and the number of Chinese tourists registered a 24.4% increase.
The international departures from the country are forecast to experience positive growth in terms of volume, driven by the enhancing air capacity and improved connectivity to the major destinations. The performance of the Icelandic hotel sector is highly dependent on tourism’s seasonality. Thus, the occupancy rate in Reykjavík (the main tourism hub in the country) stood at 39.6% in January 2012 and at 91.9% in June 2012. Growing tourist numbers together with the booming car rental business resulted in new players entering the national tourism market; for instance, Red Car Rental launched its operations in Iceland in August 2013.