Iceland - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-06-08


Tourism has been a growing force behind Iceland’s economy since 2010, with opportunities for investors 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 sector has been moving away from mass tourism to high-end tourism amid increasing demand for exclusive and luxury experiences.

Table: Revenue of Foreign Travelers
  2019 2020 2021 2022 estimated
Total Local Production N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total Local Production $3,484 $837 $1,511 N/A
Total Exports N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total Imports N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total Market Size N/A N/A N/A N/A
Exchange Rates $1 = 134.91 ISK $1 = 134.91 ISK $1 = 134.91 ISK $1 = 134.91 ISK

Units: $ millions
Source: Statistics Iceland, revenue of foreign travelers, exports of goods and services.

Leading Sub-Sectors

High-end resorts and activities.


Hotel and resort construction outside of the capital area, near unique locations, as well as exclusive or high-end activities.


American-Icelandic Chamber of Commerce

Icelandic Federation of Trade

Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST)

Invest in Iceland


Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation

Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs

Business Iceland

SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise

U.S. Embassy in Iceland

Vinbudin (ATVR)