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Iceland sees 65% rise in number of British holidaymakers

‘Promote Iceland’, the country’s official tourist board, said that the number of UK tourists was up from 10,031 in January 2013 to 16,575 one year later – an increase of more than 65%. Last year, NASA predicted that more people would travel north because the solar maximum - a period of increased solar activity - gave tourists a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights is a phenomenon that occurs when solar particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere. They produce coloured lights – mostly green, yellow and blue – when gases are released on impact. Any tourists that want to experience the aurora borealis should book to travel before the solar maximum ends next winter, with March being one of the best months to visit, according to Georgina Hancock of Discover the World.

The enduring value of travel insurance Although the Northern Lights are one of the most popular reasons for visiting Iceland, walking tours and volcano trips are also increasingly popular. The infamous ‘ash cloud’ caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 is a constant reminder of why travel insurance is so important.

The boost could also be down to the country’s appearance on the big screen. Iceland has been featured in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Prometheus, Oblivion as well as the cult TV show, Game of Thrones. More Brits have been visiting Iceland since 2008 as it became a more affordable option for holidaymakers when its banks collapsed. Today, you can buy 190 Icelandic krona for £1 – compared to just 125 six years ago.

Commenting on the increased number of British holidaymakers, ‘Promote Iceland’ said: “We are delighted to have seen such an increased interest in Iceland in January 2014 and we are particularly pleased that the amount of tourists from the UK that are discovering Iceland during the winter months has increased by so much, outside of the peak summer months,” ‘Discover the World’ said that visitor numbers were up in other countries as well, with total bookings for 2013 up by 55% compared to the previous year.

Date Created: 17 February 2014

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