Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

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  • Economy

    Foreign travellers added nearly 25% to Iceland's population at the peak of the travel season

    By Staff

    Travellers You can expect to meet crowds at the most popular spots at peak season, but if you come in March and venture slightly off the beaten path you are faced with a completely different scenario. Photo/Raffaele Piano

    According to estimates by the Icelandic Tourist Board the average number of foreign visitors in Iceland each day during last year ranged from 15,000 in January to 77,900 in August. The estimates are based on figures on the number of arrivals at Keflavík Airport and estimates on the number of nights each traveller stayed. 

    Only rough estimates
    The Icelandic Tourist Board stresses that it's calculations are only rough approximations, as there are a number of uncertainties. The number of arrivals is deduced from the number of people departing from Keflavík, while the average stay of each traveller is based on surveys done by the board. 

    According to the Icelandic Tourist Board the average stay by foreign travellers is estimated to be 6 nights, except during the peak season, in June, July and August, when the average stay was 10 days. Now, using the number of travellers who arrive in Iceland, multiplying that with the number of nights each traveller stays and dividing by the number of days in that month the board arrives at an estimate of the number of travellers in Iceland each day.

    Foreign travellers add 4.5%-24% to the population
    The estimates done by the Icelandic Tourist Board show that foreign travellers are most numerous in August, when 77,900 travellers were in Iceland each day, followed by July (76,100) and June (62,000). 

    During the summer foreign travellers therefore add significantly to the local population of 330,000 people, pushing the total to 400,000. In August foreign travellers can be expected to have added nearly a quarter to the population. Out of the roughly 400,000 people in Iceland in July and August, travellers and locals, 19% can be expected to have been foreign travellers. 

    Read more: 12 reasons you should visit Iceland during the off-season

    Outside the peak months the numbers drop significantly. In September only 35,100 foreign travellers were in Iceland each day, and 20-30,000 in the other months. In January 2016 only 15,000 foreign travellers were in Iceland at any given moment, according to the estimates of the Icelandic Tourism Board, at which time they would have added just 4.5% to the total population.

    Avoiding the crowds
    It is easy to meet these crowds when visiting the most popular tourist destinations, the Golden Circle, Skógafoss waterfall, Mýrdalssandur black sand beach or Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon during the peak season. However, Iceland is a relatively big country, and despite growing numbers of travellers it is still among the least visited countries in Europe. 

    Read more: West Iceland the second most interesting region in the world to visit in 2016 according to Lonely Planet

    By coming in the off-season and venturing off the beaten path by visiting areas which are mostly ignored by foreign travellers, despite their remarkable beauty, visitors can easily get in touch with the serene quiet of Icelandic nature and dramatic beauty of its landscapes.

  • Weather

    No travel weather on Friday: Violent gale and heavy rain in South-East Iceland

    By Staff

    Windspeeds tomorrow at 16:00 The wind is expected to pick up in the morning, reaching its peak in the afternoon. Photo/IMO

    The Icelandic Meteorological Office has issued a weather warning for tomorrow, Friday. Storm and violent gale force winds, with wind speeds ranging from 20 m/s to 28 m/s (45 mph-63 mph) are expected in all parts of the country. In South East Iceland the winds will be coupled with heavy rain.

    UPDATE: ICE-SAR has issued a travel warning for tomorrow:

    NO TRAVEL WEATHER! Tomorrow, Friday, we are expecting a violent storm in ALL Iceland! NO TRAVEL CONDITIONS from Snæfellsnes Peninsula to Höfn! Storm moving north to Akureyri, Mývatn & Húsavík in the afternoon!

    Not ideal conditions for driving long distances
    The winds are expected to pick up tomorrow morning from the south east, reaching their peak in the afternoon. In the morning the wind will be accompanied by snow or sleet, but later rain. The rain will be heaviest in South East Iceland. The temperature will rise during the day, with the wind slowing down by tomorrow evening and less rain, first in South West Iceland, later in other parts of the country. The temperature will remain between 2°C and 7°C.(35.6°F-44.6°F).

    The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration warns that most roads have patches of ice or snow which make surfaces slippery. As a consequence travellers are advised to drive very carefully.

    Beautiful weather today, again on Saturday
    The temperature will drop again on Saturday, with snow showers and colder weather and a fresh breeze. The temperature will remain hover above freezing, between 0°C and 6°C (32°F-43°F)

    The weather today Thursday, however, is expected to be lovely, especially in South-West and West Iceland. Gentle breeze and temperature around freezing: So, enjoy the beautiful weather while we still can!



  • General

    Watch a selection of the most amazing Hollywood movie scenes shot in Iceland

    By Staff

    Desolate but beautiful Iceland has the perfect backdrop to adventures featuring magic or mystery. This still is from "The Last Witchunter" a 2015 fantasy and adventure movie. Photo/Screenshot from video, see below.

    In the span of just a few years Icelandic landscapes have become one of the most valuable export commodities of Iceland. Not just as the main magnet for growing tourism, but also as the backdrop to Hollywood movies, TV series and advertisements.

    But magical or dramatic landscapes are not enough: You need local talent and expertise to help foreign film crews find the right spots and produce those movie projects. One of the very best Icelandic production companies, True North, has worked on a number of Hollywood Blockbusters, including the latest Star Wars movies and the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise.

    The 2017 showreel of Truenorth is an amazing collage of Icelandic nature and landscapes in cinema. Among the movies are Rogue One, Captain America - Civil War, Jason Borne, The Huntsman, Noah, Prometheus, Oblivion, Secret life of Walter Mitty, Thor - The Dark World, Fast and Furious 8, Transformers, Sense 8, The Last Witch Hunter, Flags of our Fathers, Star Wars The Force Awakens and Justice League!

    Truenorth Cinema Reel 2017 from Truenorth ehf on Vimeo.


  • Politics

    Pineapple-pizza-gate: Pineapple lover in London sends pizzas to the Icelandic Embassy

    By Staff

    In Solidarity with the Pineapple Pizza The staff of the Icelandic Embassy in London received a delivery of Hawaiian pizzas today from unidentified members of the brotherhood of the pineapple. Photo/Twitter.

    The Icelandic Embassy in London received an unexpected delivery of three Hawaiian pizzas today. The pizzas were sent from some anonymous pizza lover with the message "Long live the pineapple pizza". The Embassy shared a photo of the solidarity pizzas on it's Twitter account (see below).

    A London native, James Ware, later claimed responsibility for the act, releasing a YouTube video explaining his motivation.

    The back story
    On February 16 the President of Iceland announced that did not particularly care for pineapple as a pizza topping, and that if he had the power to pass laws on his own, he would move to make it illegal. On Tuesday Guðni made an official announcement clarifying that he does not have the power to dictate pizza toppings, and that he would not want to have such powers: There should be a full freedom of pizza toppings. 

    Read more: President of Iceland announces that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping

    He then went on to encourage people to try fish on their pizza. Fish is of course Iceland's best known export, aside from dramatic landscape backdrops for Hollywood movies and Game of Thrones episodes.

    Read more: Watch a selection of the most amazing Hollywood movie scenes shot in Iceland 

    The embassy sides with the president
    According to the embassy the pineapple-pizza-gate of President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has not had a significant impact on the staff or the operations of the embassy. 

    The unexpected pizza delivery is of course the most important exception. In a statement to the local news site Vísir the embassy explains that it does not take a formal position on the evolving controversy:

    "Obviously there are different opinions about what toppings people should put on top their pizzas, but it is highly unlikely that the embassy staff would order pizza topped with a fruit."


    A London Activist takes matters into his own hands
    A London man, James Ware, later claimed responsibility for the delivery, explaining in a YouTube video that he wanted to see if he could change the president's mind. To make sure his point was heard loud and clear, he ordered a double dose of pineapple on the pizza: 

    "In a year of massive political upheaval, perhaps the most devisive political debate of this week was when the President of Iceland said that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping." 

    But as the video shows, his pineapple delivery seems to have been twarted by security guards at the Icelandic Embassy. The identity of the Brotherhood of the Pineapple therefore remains secret.


  • Politics

    President's office swamped with inquiries from abroad about pineapple-pizza-gate

    By Staff

    Guðni Th. Jóhannesson The President of Iceland has expressed his dislike of pineapple as a pizza topping, encouraging people to top pizza with fish instead. Photo/Vísir

    The office of the President of Iceland has been busy answering inquiries from numerous inquiries from foreign media outlets interested in the Presidents opinion on pizza and pineapple.

    Read more: President of Iceland announces that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping

    Foreign media fascinated with pineapple-gate
    The president announced on Thursday February 16 that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping, if only he had the power to pass laws on his own. After we at Iceland Magazine reported on the announcement it quickly gained attention in international media. The blog The Cable wrote a "Profile in Courage" about Guðni's brave stand on the controversial topic.

    The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV reports that the President's office has been busy answering inquiries from foreign media outlets after the story broke. Örnólfur Thorsson, the Secretary General of the President told RÚV that most people understand the whole matter was tounge-in-cheek:

    "We have received numerous inquiries from all around the world regarding this matter. It has clearly caught people's attention, travelling around the world. People have different opinions about this matter, but most seem to know it is all in good humour."

    The president has already backtracked
    After pineapple-pizza-gate had made it into international headlines the President backtracked, saying that while he personally disapproved of pineapples, on top of pizzas, he did express his firm belief that the choice of pizza toppings was a thoroughly personal and private matter which should not be controlled by legislation. 

    "I like pineapples, just not on pizza. I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza. I am glad that I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don´t like. I would not want to live in such a country."

    Read more: Pineapple-pizza-gate: President backtracks "I can't dictate pizza toppings!" Then encourages people to put fish on their pizza


  • Travel

    Icelandair and WOW among fastest growing airlines flying between Europe and US

    By Staff

    Wow air The Icelandic budget airline is the fastest growing of any major airline flying between Europe and the US. Photo/WOW air

    The Icelandic Airlines, Icelandair and WOW air are both among the ten fastest growing airlines flying between Europe and the US.

    Analysis by the travel website shows that the third fastest growing airline in 2017, based on the number of capacity being added this summer season, is WOW air, which is adding 197,378 one-way seats. The sixth largest increase comes from Icelandair, which is adding 78,218 one-way seats. 

    Read more:  Dramatic growth of Icelandic airline WOW air: 130% increase in passengers in 2016

    While the three largest US airlines, Delta, United and American are still the largest carriers flying between Europe and the US, they have not added any significant capacity this summer. Most of the added capacity between the US and Europe comes from smaller, but rapidly growing European airlines. Airberlin and Norwegian are each adding almost a quarter of a million additional one-way seats to their US networks this summer, increasing their service by 57% and 42% respectively.

    Their growth, however, is dwarfed by WOW, which is increasing its offering by an astonishing 142% compared to last year. The increase in the number of seats offered by Icelandair is also a respectable 17%. Icelandair makes it to the list of the top 15 airlines flying Europe to the US, coming in 15th place after the Scandinavian airline SAS.

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