Register based employment in the tourism industries in Iceland was 21,586 in August 2021, an increase of 15% compared with August 2020. In the 12 month period from September 2020 to Augst 2021, an average of 14,884 people worked in the tourism industry, compared with just over 21,000 in the previous 12 month period.

Estimated overnight stays in hotels in September were 341,700 compared with 63,449 in September 2020. The number of overnight stays by Icelanders was 63,100 (+34%) and the number of overnight stays by foreign guests was 278,600 (+1610%). In September, there were 137,180 departures of passengers from Keflavik airport compared with 15,060 in August 2020. Departures of passengers with foreign citizenship were 108,276 compared with 10,126 in September 2020.

This release includes updated statistics on overnight stays and register based employment. Also updated are statistics on rental cars from the Icelandic Transport Authority, traffic statistics from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, passengers count by nationality from the Icelandic Tourist Board and ISAVIA through Keflavik Airport along with traffic statistics for Keflavik Airport.

Tourism short-term indicators October 2021 August   September - August  
Overnight stays 2020 2021 % 2019-2020 2020-2021 %
Total overnight stays¹559,2471,089,358 95%5,370,3793,508,042 -35%
Hotels and guesthouses283,369628,658 122%3,652,0032,037,513 -44%
Other types of listed accommodation²275,878460,700 67%1,718,3761,470,529 -14%
  August   September - August  
Occupancy rate of hotel rooms 2020 2021 % 2019-2020 2020-2021 %
Total overnight stays in hotels176,711439,142 149%2,830,5421,426,107 -50%
Available hotel rooms8,66610,178 17%....  
Occupancy rate36%76% 046%29% -17
  September   October - September  
Experimental statistics - Overnight stays in hotels 2020 2021 (estimated) 2019-2020 2020 -2021 %
Overnight stays in hotels63,449341,700 439%2,459,7851,707,616 -31%
– Iceland47,15363,100 34%591,556652,988 10%
– Foreigners16,296278,600 1610%1,868,2291,054,628 -44%
  Q2   Q3 - Q2  
External trade in services (million ISK) 2020 2021   2019-2020 2020-2021  
Revenue from non-Icelandic tourists7,83530,082 284%333,12279,147 -76%
– Passenger air transport1,0293,929 282%100,40011,869 -88%
– Travel / Consumption6,80626,153 284%232,72267,278 -71%
  May - June   July - June  
VAT turnover3 (million ISK) 2020 2021   2019-2020 2020-2021  
Tourism industries in Iceland37,18656,008 51%498,638237,042 -52%
– Passenger air transport13,80614,946 8%179,15977,257 -57%
– Service activities incidental to air transportation4581,337 192%15,0604,768 -68%
– Accommodation3,7928,581 126%76,48630,653 -60%
– Food and beverage service activities11,90515,326 29%82,00968,687 -16%
– Rental of leisure and sport goods & motor vehicles5,1876,661 28%42,92631,052 -28%
– Travel agents and tour operators (abroad)39466 1082%11,6691,427 -88%
– Travel agents and tour operators (in Iceland)1,1315,838 416%55,82014,042 -75%
– Physical well-being activities3141,528 388%15,1354,017 -73%
– Passenger transport on land437898 106%16,4253,594 -78%
– Passenger water transport116425 266%3,9491,546 -61%
  August Average September - August
Register based employment 2019 2020   2019 - 2020 2020 - 2021  
Tourism industries in Iceland18,71221,586 15%21,11814,884 -30%
– Air transport3,5353,052 -14%4,0182,325 -42%
– Accommodation4,7826,204 30%5,6873,375 -41%
– Food and beverage service activities8,4889,920 17%8,9817,835 -13%
– Travel agency, tour operators and other reservation servic1,9072,410 26%2,4321,349 -45%
  October   Average November - October  
Rental cars4 2019 2020   2019-2020 2020-2021  
Total rental cars19,10019,881 4%21,77418,111 -17%
Rental cars (active)15,25119,142 26%18,01314,950 -17%
Rental cars (inactive)3,849739 -81%3,7613,161 -16%
  September   August - September  
Traffic on ring road5 2020 2021   2019-2020 2020-2021  
South Iceland11,83015,838 34%148,784152,778 3%
West Iceland12,82215,652 22%151,572158,246 4%
North Iceland6,5929,943 51%82,92591,126 10%
East Iceland1,5752,887 83%20,56223,964 17%
  September   October - September  
Passenger count from Iceland6 2020 2021   2019-2020 2020-2021  
Total Passengers15,024137,180 813%1,147,406584,350 -49%
- Foreign nationality10,126108,276 969%880,764462,101 -48%
- Icelandic nationality4,89828,904 490%266,642122,249 -54%
  September   October - September  
Traffic statistcs - Keflavik Airport 2020 2021   2019-2020 2020-2021  
Total movements (departures/landings)3,309 6,558 98% 54,475 61,199 12%
Total passenger movements28,317326,3311052%2,760,9631,393,473 -50%
– Departures15,060137,180 811%1,147,993584,670 -49%
– Arrivals12,419123,562 895%1,127,959596,053 -47%
– Exchange passengers (counted twice)83865,589 7727%485,011212,750 -56%

Table in a pdf

1 Airbnb and unpaid accommodation not included in 12 month period.
2 Other accommodations are camping sites, youth hostels, holiday centres, lodges in wilderness, apartments, sleeping-bag facilities and private-home accommodation. Other unpaid accommodation includes overnight stays in cars, tents or caravans outside campsites and indoor accommodation where no payment was made.
3 Travel agencies (abroad): Services in connection with trips abroad, i.e. with zero VAT-rate according to paragraph 12 of the VAT-law (Act 50/1988). Travel agencies (in Iceland): Services in connection with trips in Iceland, i.e. not with zero VAT-rate according to paragraph 12 of the VAT-law (Act 50/1988).
4 Data from the Icelandic transport authority. Numbers from first weekday of each month.
5 According to numbers from 14 counters on the ring road from Icelandic Road Administration. Monthly numbers show the average count each month. 12 month rolling period specifies the total count during the period. Data is used from 14 counters located on the ring road.
6 Data from the Icelandic Tourist Board.
7 Data from ISAVIA - passenger movements count departures, arrivals and connecting passengers which are counted twice.

Statistics