As you know, we’re huge fans of Iceland here at Halsbury. And it seems we’re not the only ones. It was recently reported that the country is now so popular with tourists, that American visitors alone will outnumber the locals by the end of this year.
The growth of tourism in Iceland has exploded since 2010. Ironically, this was the year that Eyjafjallajökull erupted, creating that ash cloud that grounded many flights across Europe. But, although difficult for the travel industry at the time, it was this event that put the small Nordic nation on the map.
Well, that and the fact that, since 2011, the country has portrayed the lands beyond the Wall in the wildly popular TV series, Game of Thrones!
The Icelandic population is 332,000. By the end of September, more than 325,000 Americans had visited, and this number is expected to continue to rise until the end of the year. Overall, it’s expected that around 1.5 million tourists from all over the world will have visited Iceland in 2016. And by 2020, it’s thought that Iceland could be welcoming over 2 million visitors each year!
Of course, this does pose challenges for the Icelandic government, who are currently in the middle of a project to improve tourism infrastructure while safeguarding the country’s nature – which is, after all, what all the tourists come to see.
Sustainable tourism is vitally important to Iceland, and tourists are encouraged to heed the advice of country’s tourist board with regards to protecting the environment.
While this is all very interesting, you may wonder what it has to do with our trips to Iceland? Well, it’s important to note that, although Iceland is developing and improving its tourism infrastructure, the reality is that its growing popularity does mean availability is getting more and more limited.
This isn’t anything to worry about - it just means that it’s becoming more and more important to start planning your trips early. So, if you’re thinking about leading a school trip to Iceland in 2017/18, contact us now, to avoid disappointment!