Adventure travel favourite Iceland continues to attract record numbers of tourists. Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, manager, Visit Iceland/Promote Iceland, explains the country’s approach to managing visitor numbers.
“Iceland has experienced rapid growth in tourist arrivals in recent years — in 2012, it had the highest seasonality in tourist arrivals of all Nordic countries, with most people visiting during the summer. However, this has steadily decreased; now Iceland has the second lowest seasonality in the region.
“Overall growth is now near the world average. We’ve taken measures in recent years to support tourism development and infrastructure, and it indicates Iceland is moving towards a more sustainable future.
“We’ve focused on two things; safety and responsible travel behaviour; and off-season tourism
and increasing tourism in less-visited regions. There’s been increased focus on the latter, encouraging tourists to travel further around Iceland, strengthening local economies.
“In 2015, the Icelandic Route Development Fund was also established to support direct international flights to other airports, with the objective of encouraging better tourist distribution. And back in 2011, the government set up the Tourist Site Protection Fund, which supports the development of new attractions to reduce pressure on frequently visited tourist sites.
“In 2017, 300 tourism companies endorsed a declaration on responsible tourism. Overall funding for tourism-related research has been increased too, and a tourism education and training programme has been launched to improve local skills.”