Just under 700,000 tourists visited Iceland in 2021, an increase of nearly 45% relative to 2020 but still only a third of the 2019 total. The vast majority – 470,000 – came in July-October.
The short-term outlook for tourism has undeniably worsened with the rise of the Omicron variant in Iceland and elsewhere. Even so, we believe appetite for travel is keen and that people have begun to travel despite the virus. In this light, many view Iceland as a desirable destination, as it is possible to travel here without having to be cheek-to-jowl with other people.
In our most recent macroeconomic forecast, we project that 1.1-1.2 million tourists will visit Iceland in 2022. If that forecast materialises, the total will be close to that in 2015, albeit more than 40% less than in 2019. We expect tourist numbers to rise to 1.5 million in 2023 and 1.7 million in 2024.