The total number of overnight stays in Iceland in all accommodation in 2020 was 2,961,000 according to first estimates and decreased by 65% from 2019. Thereof, 1,944,000 overnight stays were at hotels and guesthouses (66% decrease) and 1,018,000 in other types of accommodation (61% decrease). Overnight stays of Icelanders in 2020 were 1,391,000, whereas foreign overnight stays were 1,570,000. Data for 2020 are currently under review.

The number of overnight stays in December decreased by 91% compared with the same month last year. There was a 93% decrease in hotels, 79% decrease in guesthouses and 85% decrease in other types of accommodation (youth hostels, cottages etc.).

Overnight stays in all accommodation in December 2020 were 45,000 compared with 509,000 in December 2019. Icelanders accounted for 77% or 35,000 overnight stays whereas foreign visitors accounted for 23% or 10,000 stays. Overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses were 31,000, thereof 21,300 in hotels.

Since the border study managed by Statistics Iceland and the Icelandic Tourist Board has ceased temporarily due to a decrease in departures from Keflavík Airport, it is not possible to estimate the number of foreign overnight stays at private accommodation offered through Airbnb and similar sites which in December 2019 were 64.000.

The number of hotel bedrooms decreased by 42% in December 2020 compared with December the year before. Occupancy rate for bedrooms in hotels was 6.8% in December 2020 which is a decrease of 44.6 percentage points from December 2019.

Supply and occupancy rates of hotel bedrooms in December
  Number of Hotel bedrooms in December Room occupancy rate in December
2019 2020 % 2019 2020 pp
Capital region5,3992,608-51.7%69.3%7.7%-61.6
West and Westfjords803576-28.3%19.7%3.1%-16.6

There was a dramatic decrease from December 2019 in the number of overnight stays in hotels in all regions. The greatest decrease was in the Capital region, from 206,000 to 10,100 between years, or by 95%. At the same time, hotel room supply decreased by 52% and hotel room occupancy fell by 61.6 percentage points down to 7.7%.

Overnight stays in hotels
  December   January-December  
2019 2020 % 2019 2020 %
Capital region206,00810,138-952,511,541727,917-71
West and Westfjords8,410979-88247,760119,307-52
Northwest and Northeast10,1062,168-79338,289167,416-51
Foreign visitors274,9773,777-994,094,286951,782-77

Nights spent by foreign tourists in hotels decreased by almost 99% whereas nights spent by Icelanders decreased by 46%. Overnight stays of Icelanders were 17,500 or 82% whereas overnight stays of foreign tourists were 3,800 or 18%.

The total number of overnight stays in hotels for 2020 was 1,488,000, which is a 67% decrease from 2019. There was a 67%-71% decrease in overnight stays in the Capital, South and Southwest regions and a 50%-54% decrease in other regions.

All numbers for 2020 are preliminary, except for hotel data which is preliminary for December 2020. Due to a severe decrease in departures from Keflavík Airport, data collection for the border study managed by Statistics Iceland and the Icelandic Tourist Board has been ceased temporarily and will not be continued until the situation improves. Until then, Statistics Iceland will not publish estimates of unpaid overnight stays and overnight stays in home accommodation through peer-to-peer websites. Due to abrupt changes in supply and occupancy rates, estimation for other types of accommodation than hotels is currently subject to a higher degree of uncertainty than usual and should therefore be taken with a special precaution until final numbers are available at the end of the year.