The number of overnight stays in January decreased by 1.7% compared with the same month last year, which is primarily driven by a 41% decrease in private accommodation through Airbnb etc. There was a 7% increase in hotels, 10% increase in guesthouses, and 13% increase in other types of accommodation (youth hostels, cottages etc.).

Overnight stays in all accommodation in January 2020 were 495,000, compared with 503,200 in January last year. Overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses were 346,000, thereof 291,600 in hotels. Overnight stays in youth hostels, cottages etc. were 87,000, and overnight stays at private accommodation through websites such as Airbnb were approximately 61,000.

Figures for overnight stays at hotels are based on data received directly from hotels, having a high response rate (88% in January 2020). In contrast, numbers for private accommodation offered through websites such as Airbnb are based on a border survey conducted by the Icelandic Tourist Bureau and Statistics Iceland, and have a higher degree of uncertainty.

7% increase in overnight stays at hotels
Overnight stays in hotels in January 2020 were 291,600 which is a 7% increase from January last year. Overnight stays in the North region decreased by 29%, contrasted by an increase for all other regions. Around 68% of overnight stays in hotels were in the Capital area, or 198,100.

Overnight stays in hotels
  January   February-January  
2019 2020 % 2018-2019 2019-2020 %
Capital region187,315198,10962,573,6682,518,350-2
West and Westfjords7,8829,06215247,298246,7320
Northwest and Northe10,1507,219-29321,370334,1464
Foreign visitors248,194261,15653,999,0174,102,7633

The total number of overnight stays in hotels for the 12 months between February 2019 and January 2020 was 4,544,000 which is a 2% increase from the preceding 12 month period.

Occupancy rate for bedrooms in hotels was 49.1% in January 2020 which is a decrease of 0.9 percentage points from January 2019. Over the same period, the number of hotel bedrooms increased by 8.9%. The occupancy rate for bedrooms in January was highest in the Capital area (66.2%).

Supply and occupancy rates of hotel bedrooms in January
  Number of Hotel bedrooms in January Room occupancy rate in January
2019 2020 % 2019 2020 pp
Capital region5,0935,4086.2%66.2%66.5%0.3
West and Westfjords66681221.9%21.6%20.7%-0.9

Nights spent by foreign tourists in hotels were 261,200, which accounted for 90% of overnight stays in January. UK residents had the greatest number of overnight stays (74,700), then residents of USA (53,900) and China (35,600). Overnight stays of Icelanders in January were 30,400. Following the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all flights to and from China were cancelled at the end of January 2020.

Additionally, overnight stays in cars other than at campsites were 500 and the number of overnight stays with friends and relatives, through exchanges or in other places where no payment was made, were 14,000.

Methods for estimating unregistered overnight stays are under development. All estimates of unregistered overnight stays are temporary and subject to change when further information are available, such as on VAT turnover, supply and occupancy rates of establishments offering accommodation through Airbnb.

All numbers for 2019 onwards are preliminary, except for hotel data, which is preliminary for January 2020.