Visitor numbers in Iceland drop by 5.8%

The decline in visitor numbers in January is greater than Isavia had predicted.

The number of foreign visitors in Iceland dropped in January. Credit: Nicolas J Leclercq / Unsplash

139,055 foreign tourists visited Iceland in January, according to statistics compiled by the Icelandic Tourist Board. That’s 8,514 fewer visitors compared to January 2018, a decline by 5.8% between years. Isavia, which oversees airport operations in Iceland, had earlier predicted 147,114 foreign visitors in January this year, a decline by 0.3%.

Scheduled flights to Keflavík International Airport dropped little less than 2% in January 2019 according to our data and it is doubtful that international airlines will expand services this year. Add WOW air’s recent troubles and rising ticket prices to the list, and it seems inevitable that the decline in tourist numbers will continue in coming months. However, it’s highly possible that transit passengers could weigh up against these negative trends.

Despite the decline in visitor numbers, the outlook is not entirely bleek; the number of foreign tourists visiting Iceland in January 2019 is higher than the combined number of visitors in January 2016 and 2015.