Record Traffic Continues for Iceland Tourism

2011 saw a 52 percent increase in US visitors, 21 percent in the first nine months of 2012

The Northern Lights in Iceland (Photo: Business Wire)


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REYKJAVIK, Iceland--()--Keflavik International Airport experienced a record-breaking summer in passenger volume – up nine percent from 2011 during the busiest months of June, July and August. The trend continues with a predicted 19.8 percent increase through year’s end, with total traffic reaching 2.4 million passengers in 2012.

Approximately one-fourth, (650,000) of all airport transit passengers are projected to enter Iceland as tourists. For January – September, total tourism figures are up 17.2 percent since last year. 2011 saw a 52 percent increase in visitors from the US, and the trend continues with a 21 percent increase in the first nine months of 2012. With a population of 320,000, tourists to Iceland now more than double the number of locals.

Since 2010, Iceland’s tourism industry has experienced record growth, with most visitors from the United States, followed by the UK, Germany and Norway. Now the third highest yielding industry, after marine products and power intensive industries, tourism continues as a prime force in rebuilding Iceland’s economy following the 2008 banking collapse. International visitors spent approximately ISK 133bn ($1.1 billion) in 2011, an increase of 13% from 2010.

“We are continuing to see record annual growth in the tourism sector, with Iceland’s unspoiled nature, rugged landscape and unique culture continuing to draw US visitors. This is resulting in the tourism season stretching from a summer only season to a year-round destination,” says Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, Director of Marketing & Visit Iceland.

Airline operators aim at considerable increase in the winter schedule as well as summer 2013. Icelandair has announced a 15 percent increase in flights in the coming year. The company’s predicted rise in passengers is relatively higher in the winter season, which includes new destinations of Anchorage, Alaska and Denver, Colorado. Due to increased demand from US travelers, a second Icelandic airline, Iceland Express, will enter the US market in 2013, operating daily flights to Boston beginning in June 2013.

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Promote Iceland is a public-private partnership established to improve the competitiveness of Icelandic companies in foreign markets and to stimulate economic growth through increased export. Please visit for more information or contact Liney Arnorsdottir, +354 824 4385, or

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