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Iceland is an emerging tourist destination that has seen a boom in tourism since 2010. In 2018, the island country became the 86th most popular tourist destination in the world with 2.2 million tourists.
Number of tourists in 2018
Iceland consists of 7 regions: Reykjavik, West Iceland, East Iceland, North Iceland, South Iceland, Fjords and Reykjanes. The country is known and appreciated for its rich and unique natural heritage ranging from geysers and waterfalls to icebergs and volcanoes. The destination is hosting no less than 3 national parks with distinct and sumptuous landscapes : Vatnajökull, Þingvellir (Unesco World Heritage Site) and Snæfellsjökull.
Although it is geographically closer to the American continent, its history and culture are traditionally linked to Europe. Iceland, which literally means "land of ice", has a total area of 102,775 km² but only 365,620 inhabitants, which is a density of only 3 inhabitants per km². The vast majority of the population is concentrated in the capital, Reykjavik, which is known for its lively nightlife.
Nature being the major asset of the destination, the authorities are doing everything to preserve it and this strategy also applies to tourism since the country promotes sustainable and responsible tourism. It is in this sense that the country created in 2017 "The Icelandic Oath", an eight-point charter reminding tourists of several major principles on the respect of natural sites as well as instructions for life in campsites and road safety. Each traveller was invited to sign this pact online before visiting the country to demonstrate their sustainable commitment.
Tourism is a major industry for Iceland, accounting for 20% of its GDP, ahead of fishing and aluminium production, two historically important industries for the country. The number of tourists has been increasing since the 2010s, becoming a trendy destination and very popular among green tourism enthusiasts. The tourist activity is subject to strong seasonality due to the extreme temperatures recorded in winter, summer being the preferred season for travellers.