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Published on : Thursday, October 20, 2016
One of the most Instagrammable destinations, Iceland, has become a sort of exotic pilgrimage for the young travellers. Social media reports show that over-saturated images of fjords, colourful villages, and ice melt waterfalls of Iceland is trending choice for the tourists.
It was in 1949 when the Icelandic Tourist Board began tracking foreign travellers and recorded 5,312 people. The number reached 200,000 tourists from around the globe by 1996. The trend did not always see an up-graph; in fact, in 2010 there was a decrease in the visitor figures. Around 2011, it again gained momentum.
In 2016, it saw a record number of international tourists reaching a record of 1.61 million people. This is almost triple the figure from 2010. That number is expected to near 2 million by the New Year.
The largest portion of tourist hails from the United States. More than 325,000 Americans have visited Iceland in 2016, compared with 51,000 in 2010 marking a six fold increase. Iceland’s present population is 332,000, which means American tourists to Iceland will outnumber Iceland’s population this year.
Between 2015 and 2016, there was a 65 percent increase in searches for Iceland hotels and flights. Most of this interest surrounds New Year’s vacations.
Four hours of daylight is seen during winter in Iceland. Iceland’s tourist board took the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano onto its stride and released series of videos — “Inspired by Iceland”. The campaign was pushed out hard on social media. Between 2010 and 2014, registered tour operators in the country increased from around 175 to 776. Icelandair, the most popular airline running trans-Atlantic Iceland flights, only operated in six major US hubs. This popular budget airline made Iceland a major tourist destination.
Today, Iceland stands as a safe alternative to post-Brexit turmoil. It is one of safest countries in the world.