Tourism in Iceland

Iceland recorded a total of 2 million tourists in 2018, ranking 86th in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Iceland, the result is much more comparable picture: With 6.6 tourists per resident, Iceland ranked 10th in the world. In Northern Europe, it ranked 1st.

Iceland generated around 3.13 billion US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 12.09 percent of its the gross domestic product.



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Development of the tourism sector in Iceland from 1995 to 2018

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Iceland each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

The red line represents the average of all countries in Northern Europe.

Tourists per year in Iceland

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 309.00 million USD, or about 4.4 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 190,000 tourists at that time and roughly 1,626 USD per person. Within 23 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased drastically. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 3.13 billion USD, accounting for 12.09 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 1,335 USD for his holiday in Iceland.

Tourism receipts in Iceland per year

All data for Iceland in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPExpences per person
1995190,000309.00 m $4.4 %1,626 $
1996201,000312.00 m $4.3 %1,552 $
1997202,000314.00 m $4.2 %1,554 $
1998232,000372.00 m $4.4 %1,603 $
1999263,000380.00 m $4.3 %1,445 $
2000303,000386.00 m $4.3 %1,274 $
2001301,000383.00 m $4.7 %1,272 $
2002285,000415.00 m $4.5 %1,456 $
2003317,000486.00 m $4.3 %1,533 $
2004360,000558.00 m $4.1 %1,550 $
2005374,000635.00 m $3.8 %1,698 $
2006422,000702.00 m $4.1 %1,664 $
2007485,000848.00 m $4.0 %1,748 $
2008502,000881.00 m $5.0 %1,755 $
2009494,000550.00 m $4.2 %1,113 $
2010489,000562.00 m $4.1 %1,149 $
2011566,000751.00 m $5.0 %1,327 $
2012673,000865.00 m $5.9 %1,285 $
2013807,3001.08 bn $6.7 %1,335 $
2014997,0001.38 bn $7.7 %1,379 $
20151.29 m1.62 bn $9.3 %1,255 $
20161.79 m2.41 bn $11.64 %1,345 $
20172.23 m3.02 bn $12.35 %1,359 $
20182.34 m3.13 bn $12.09 %1,335 $


All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.