Please note that this press release was corrected 26 September 2023. Figures for museum guests by regions were corrected.
The number of guests at museums, exhibitions and related activities decreased by 45% between 2019 and 2020. The number decreased most for history museums, by 54%, and art museums, by 47%. The number of guests at nature museums decreased by 29% and by 21% at zoos. There was a decrease in all regions of the country. The number decreased most in the East region, by 83%, and in the West region, by 73%.
The number of foreign museum guests decreased by 84.9% between 2019 and 2020 but national guests by 21.4%. Between 2015 and 2019 the proportion of national guests was between 33-39% but in 2020 national guests amounted to 76.7% of the total number of guests, the first time since 2013 that there are more national guests than foreign. Proportionally the number of foreign guests decreased most in art museums, by 92.9% and least in nature museums, by 65.0%.
The number of regular opening days during the summer season also decreased between 2019 and 2020. Museums open 6-7 days a week during the summer season went from 104 to 98 and those without regular opening days went from 3 to 9.
About the data
Information about accredited museums comes from the Museum Council of Iceland. Information about other museums and related activities is collected annually by Statistics Iceland.
Information for 2020 was collected from a total of 123 museums, exhibitions and related activities and they have not been fewer since 2002. Of those 123, 112 returned information about the number of guests while the number was 115 for 2019. It is worth noting that Statistics Iceland‘s list of museums, exhibitions and related activities is not exhaustive but it is updated annually with the information available at each time.