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Icelandic tourism sector records unprecedented growth

Tourism in Iceland has seen unprecedented growth since 2010, according to a new report from global hotel consultancy HVS.

The boom in tourism has resulted in a healthy rise in occupancy levels across the country’s hotels, as travellers look to take in Iceland’s stunning natural beauty.

Keflavik International Airport has recorded steady double-digit growth with arrivals and departures increasing by almost 25% in 2015, while growth was recorded at 34% in the year-to-October 2016.

Before 2010, the country’s hotel sector struggled to achieve annual occupancies of 50%, however, that figure has now increased to 86%.

Data provided by Benchmarking Alliance shows that the capital Reykjavik is growing to become one of the strongest performing cities in the Nordics, with the highest occupancy rates in 2016.

A number of trendy hotels have opened up in the capital including Canopy by Hilton, Hotel Bork and 101, whilst other developments over the next three years will add an additional 2,000 rooms.

The number of tourists heading to the country has more than doubled since 2010, with the biggest level of growth seen between 2014 and 2015, when numbers rose by 29.1%.

The total number of visitors was around 1.3 million in 2015, with UK travellers accounting for 241,024 of that figure, only beaten by the USA (242,805).

Half of the total travellers to the country from the UK visited during the winter months, highlighting Iceland’s growing popularity as a winter break.

Iceland expects to see figures continue to rise in 2017, estimating that more than two million tourists will visit the country.

The biggest challenge for Iceland is attracting more tourists throughout the high summer season, as more and more travellers opt to visit in winter.

However attractions including Gullfoss, Blue Lagoon, Thingvellir National Park and Heimaey still offer stunning sights in the summer months, while the waters can be calmer if you fancy a spot of whale watching.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your single trip travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 20 January 2017

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