The country’s tourism sector is steadily recovering from the recent disasters brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Year-over-year data shows that the number of passengers through Keflavik Airport is getting closer to 2019 levels.
As shown in the accompanying bar charts, tourism growth has been adventourous in the last 12 years, or since Eyjafjallajokull erupted. This was a watershed moment in Icelandic tourism. The country received a lot of attention, although some of it was negative.
The magnitude of the contraction in 2020 is also noteworthy. That year, the number of tourists at Keflavik Airport was only about 20% of the previous year, which had been the most successful year in Icelandic tourism history. It can also be said that the recession began in 2019, most likely as a result of the bankruptcy of the WOW airline, which was responsible for a large portion of the passengers who passed through Keflavik Airport.
Icelandic tourism appears to be entering a new era. As in previous years of prosperity, we are hearing about expensive, low-quality accommodation. There is a need for more hotel rooms throughout the country, and hopefully we will be able to keep up with demand so that Iceland does not become a country that only the wealthy can visit.
The data for the accompanying bar graphs was obtained from the Statistics Iceland Website. The charts have been updated with data for November 2022.