Iceland - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and other business opportunities.

Last published date: 2022-06-08

Tourism has been a growing force behind Iceland’s economy since 2010,  with opportunities for investors and exporters in high-end tourism, including luxury resorts and hotels.  The number of tourists in Iceland grew by more than 400 percent between 2010 and 2018, reaching more than 2.3 million in 2018.  However, tourism in Iceland contracted in 2019 with visitors falling just below 2 million, which can be largely attributed to the fall of Icelandic budget airline WOW Air.  The COVID-19 pandemic has had drastic effects on tourism, as well as on Iceland’s overall economy, which contracted by 7.1 percent in 2020, according to Statistics Iceland.  Less than half a million tourists visited Iceland in 2020, with the number of tourists reaching 700,000 in 2021.  Stakeholders in the industry have been generally optimistic for 2022, with hotels reporting good booking positions for the spring and summer seasons. 

The startup and innovation communities in Iceland are flourishing, with IT and biotech startups seeking investors.  The data center industry is new in Iceland and growing.  Iceland is a favorable location to host data centers due to its naturally cold climate (reducing energy costs), safe environment, and abundant renewable energy.  Iceland has identified data centers as a key sector. 

The film industry has been growing in Iceland for the past few years.  Iceland’s dramatic landscapes are becoming increasingly popular as backdrops in international films and television series.  Iceland offers special tax incentives to attract film production.

Iceland is dependent on imported consumer goods.  Potential growth areas for exports to Iceland include organic foods, fresh produce, wine and beer, computer equipment and software, children’s products, recreational goods, and clothing.

Fish farming has been growing at a rapid rate, particularly salmon farming.