Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Travel

Growth of tourism continues: 56% increase this year, shortage of accommodations looms

By Staff

  • Travellers at Almannagjá The growth in the number of visitors during the first four months of 2017 was 56%, compared to 40% during 2016. Photo/Pjetur

The growth in the number of foreign visitors during the first four months of 2017 has exceeded projections and expectations. The year-over-year increase in the first four months of 2017 was 56%, compared to a 40% increase in 2016, compared to the year before. Projections for the year have envisioned a 35% increase in 2017 compared to 2016.

Hotels and guest houses in S. Iceland booked for the summer
The dramatic increase has left some wondering if the Icelandic tourism industry and infrastructure are capable of dealing with the rapid growth. The manager of Hey Iceland, a network of farmers who offer accommodation at guest houses at their farms, told the local news site Vísir that visitors would likely be faced with a shortage of accommodations, especially in South Iceland. Most guest houses, hotels and hostels along the south coast are already fully booked for the summer.

He fears that the growth could mean travellers will either sleep in their rental cars on parking lots, a practice which has caused significant frustration among locals. "But, then again, this is just one of the consequences of the growth," he added.

Still plenty of rooms at guesthouses in other parts of Iceland!
There is plenty of room at guesthouses and rural hotels in other parts of Iceland, he pointed out, but the lack of accommodations in South Iceland creates challenges, for example for people who want to drive the ring road or visit East Iceland: Driving between the Eastfjords and Reykjavík in one day will not leave much time for enjoying the sights, unless you plan carefully.

Other options include taking take day trips to South Iceland, visiting other parts of Iceland, like the West and North and from there, the Eastfjords, or finally to rent a camper van or a tent to camp at the many beautiful campsites around the Ring Road.

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