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Iceland Mag

Economy

Peak puffin: 2.5% in visitor numbers in July due to continued increase from US

By Staff

  • At Keflavík Airport The period of explosive growth in tourism appears to be at an end, for the time being at least. Photo/Fréttablaðið

According to the latest figures from Keflavík Airport and the Icelandic Tourism Board, the number of foreign visitors who passed through Keflavík Airport increased by 2.5% in July, compared to July 2017. This stands in stark contrast to recent years when the year-over-year increase has been in the double digits.

Whether the slowdown is only temporary, or whether we are seeing "peak puffin", the peak of the tourism boom in Iceland remains to be seen. Slower growth is certainly welcomed by many observers who have been arguing the double digit growth rates of recent years have put unreasonable strain on the tourism infrastructure and many popular sites. Slower growth provides breathing space for the maintenance and necessary improvement of popular sites around Iceland.

A total of 278,613 foreign travelers passed through Keflavík Airport in July compared to 271,920 in July 2017. The increase was primarily due to the increase in the number US travelers. The number of US travelers increased by 27%, while the number of Scandinavian, British, French, Germans and Canadian travelers decreased by 9-19%. 

US travelers made up 36.9% of the total number of travelers in July. Next came German, British, French and Canadian travelers, each group making up 4.5-7.4% of the total. European and North American travelers made up 82% of all foreign travelers in Iceland in July, while 8% came from Asia and 10% from South America, Africa or Australia.

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