The number of overnight stays in Iceland in March decreased by 64% compared with the same month last year. There was an 72% decrease in hotels, 58% decrease in guesthouses and 46% decrease in other types of accommodation (youth hostels, cottages etc.).

Overnight stays in all accommodation in March 2021 were 98,000 compared with 322,000 in March 2020. Icelandic overnight stays were 77,000, which is a 164% increase from the year before. Icelanders accounted for 79% whereas foreign visitors accounted for 21% or 21,000 stays. Overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses were 65,000, thereof 48,700 in hotels.

The number of hotel bedrooms decreased by 37.4% in March 2021 compared with March the year before. Occupancy rate for bedrooms in hotels was 14.0% in March 2021 which is a decrease of 16.2 percentage points from March 2020.

There were 48,700 overnight stays in hotels in March, and their number decreased in all regions from March 2020 except for the North region. The greatest decrease was in the Capital region, from 108,000 to 17,900 between years, or by 83%. At the same time, hotel room supply in the Capital region decreased by 56% and hotel room occupancy fell by 23 percentage points, down to 15.4%. In the North region overnight stays were 11,100 and increased by 9% between years. While hotel room supply decreased by 23% from March 2020, the occupancy rate in the North increased by 5.9 percentage points, to 22.9%.

Overnight stays, supply and occupancy in hotels
  March April-March
Overnight stays in hotels20202021%2019-20202020-2021%
Capital region107,98917,853-83%2,406,751243,089-90%
West and Westfjords8,8724,595-48%239,86497,133-60%
Northwest and Northeast10,13911,0709%321,250163,403-49%
Foreign visitors154,3659,053-94%3,896,362259,233-93%
Supply and occupancy rates of hotel rooms Number of hotel rooms in March Room occupancy rate in March
20202021%20202021 pp
Capital region5,2422,331-56%38.2%15.4%-22.8
West and Westfjords845623-26%19.3%13.5%-5.8
Northwest and Northeast1,128865-23%17.0%22.9%5.9

Nights spent by foreign tourists in hotels decreased by 94% whereas nights spent by Icelanders increased by 97%. Overnight stays of Icelanders were 39,700 or 81%, whereas overnight stays of foreign tourists were 9,100 or 19%.

In the 12 month period from April 2020 to March 2021, the number of overnight stays in hotels was 808,100, which is a 81% decrease from the prior 12 month period.

In mid-March last year, the first assembly ban was imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the flow of tourists to the country decreased significantly.

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 March 2020 were 47,000.

All numbers for 2020 and 2021 are preliminary, except for hotel data which is preliminary for March 2021. 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. The final estimates of overnight stays in 2020 are currently under review. Due to unprecedented changes in accommodation in the last year, there is an expected delay in the publication of final numbers for overnight stays in 2020.