Preliminary results of the Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSAs) indicate that tourism as a proportion of GDP amounted to 4.2% in 2021 compared with 3.6% in 2020. For comparison, these estimates were, on average, 8.1% in the period from 2016 to 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The share of tourism in total employment
In 2021, 6.5% of total working hours are estimated to have been directly related to the production of goods and services for tourism final consumption compared with 5.6% in 2020. For comparison, these estimates were, on average, roughly 10.4% for the period 2016-2019.

Almost 14 thousand persons were employed in tourism in Iceland in 2021 according to preliminary figures, an increase of 8% from previous year, and 18.4 million working hours are estimated to have been directly related to tourism in 2021, an increase of 18% from 2020.

Note that companies were able to reduce employment ratio of staff as part of a government measure due to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the period March 2020 to May 2021. The measure enabled entitlement to partial unemployment benefits alongside reduced employment ratio. Of the people that received partial unemployment benefits in 2020, 37% were employed in the tourism industries.

Tourism proportion of GDP compared with other industries
Tourism plays a less significant role in GDP in 2020 and 2021 compared to the previous years. When comparing tourism to other industries’ contributions to GDP, one must bear in mind that tourism is not classified as a separate activity in standard industrial classifications. Tourism is assembled from a proportion of activities of multiple industries.

Internal tourism consumption increased by 49%
Total internal tourism consumption, inbound and domestic, amounted to 349 billion ISK in 2021, an increase of 49% compared with 2020. However, the internal tourism consumption is still considerably lower than in 2019 when it amounted to 556 billion ISK, at current prices.

The share of domestic tourism expenditure in total tourism expenditure 44%
Domestic tourism expenditure amounted to 149 billion ISK according to preliminary figures, an increase of 24% from the year 2020. The largest share of domestic tourism expenditure in 2021 was towards accommodation but domestic overnight stays increased by 32% in 2021 compared to the previous year. The share of domestic tourism expenditure of total internal tourism expenditure in 2021 was 44%, compared with 55% in 2020 and 27% in 2019.

Inbound tourism expenditures amounted to 189 billion ISK in 2020, an increase by 92% compared with the expenditure in 2020. The share of inbound tourism expenditure of total internal tourism expenditure in 2021 was 56%. The largest share of inbound tourism expenditure was on accommodation, but inbound overnight stays increased by 68% in 2021 compared to 2020.

About the data
The Tourism Satellite Accounts are used as a measurement of tourism within the national accounting framework and cover both inbound tourism and domestic tourism in Iceland.

In parallel to the publication of the results of the Tourism Satellite Accounts for 2020, the results of previous years have been revised. As Tourism Satellite Accounts are based on the results of the national accounts’ expenditure approach as well as the production approach, it should be emphasized that revisions made to those results also affect the Tourism Satellite Accounts.

Statistics

Statistical Series - Tourism Satellite Accounts 2009–2021