Iceland’s Natural Beauty Attracting Record Numbers of Visitors
With a large part of its population in France for Euro 2016, Iceland pretty much came to a standstill. Estimates ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 Icelanders travelled to France out of just 330,000 people, watching their team’s remarkable run before losing to the tournament’s host team in the quarter-final match, in the process depriving the North Atlantic island of a good share of its labour force. But while the Icelanders may be gone, the tourists keep coming, as tourism is in its peak season.
Foreign visitors flood to the island, drawn by the awe-inspiring surroundings that resembles a lunar landscape with black lava fields, ready-to-blow volcanoes, and mythical geysers.
“We’re a small company with 15 employees, and six have left for France,” Sebastien Tranchand, a French travel agent based in Reykjavik, told the AFP. “So we’re managing, we’re dealing with it. It’s the same for a lot of people.”
Foreigners who booked trips here long before the Euro 2016 are thrilled to arrive at this serendipitous moment, enjoying the upbeat mood and party atmosphere. “There’s an interest from tourists in football,” said Anna Karolina Gestsdottir of tourism company Around Iceland. “Particularly men, who ask questions. But it’s small talk, they came for the Icelandic nature. I’m not sure that we’ve had more tourists thanks to the Euro. June-July is a busy time anyway. Everything is fully booked.”
In central Reykjavik, one can get the impression tourism is the city’s the only industry. Indeed, little Icelandic is heard on the streets in the early summer. The country had a record 1.3 million foreign tourists in 2015, the lion’s share from the US and Britain, compared to a million the previous year. This year is expected to be another record year, with an increase of 30 percent forecast. –Relaxnews
To showcase Iceland’s natural beauty, RealClearLife curated two videos for your enjoyment, found both at the top and bottom of the article.
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