The number of overnight stays in September decreased by 88% compared with the same month last year. There was an 85% decrease in hotels, 86% decrease in guesthouses, and 84% decrease in other types of accommodation (youth hostels, cottages, campsites etc.).

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 September 2019 were 180.000.

Overnight stays in all accommodation in September 2020 were 124,000 compared with 1,003,000 in September last year. Icelanders accounted for 74% or 93,000 overnight stays whereas foreign visitors accounted for 26% or 32,000 stays. Overnight stays in hotels and guesthouses were 86,000, thereof 64,300 in hotels.

The number of hotel bedrooms decreased by 28% in September 2020 compared with September 2019. Occupancy rate for bedrooms in hotels was 16.2% in September 2020 which is a decrease of 57.6 percentage points from September 2019.

The number of overnight stays in the Capital region decreased from 215,000 to 21,300 between years, or by 90%. At the same time, hotel room supply decreased by 39.5% and hotel room occupancy fell by 64.8 percentage points down to 13.8%.

Supply and occupancy rates of hotel bedrooms in September
  Number of Hotel bedrooms in September Room occupancy rate in September
2019 2020 % 2019 2020 pp
Capital region5,3473,235-39.5%78.6%13.8%-64.8
West and Westfjords925803-13.2%60.3%17.9%-42.4

Nights spent by foreign tourists in hotels decreased by 96% whereas nights spent by Icelanders increased by 28%. Overnight stays of Icelanders were 47,800 or 74% whereas overnight stays of foreign tourists were 16,400 or 26%.

Overnight stays in hotels
  September   October-September  
2019 2020 % 2018-2019 2019-2020 %
Capital region215,00521,251-902,498,5451,338,609-46
West and Westfjords29,4817,811-74244,641157,150-36
Northwest and Northeast40,35710,782-73339,845214,586-37
Foreign visitors396,72116,442-964,056,8501,868,375-54

The total number of overnight stays in hotels for the 12 months between October 2019 and September 2020 was 2,461,000 which is a 45% decrease from the preceding 12 month period.

Additionally, based on the border survey carried out by Statistics Iceland and the Icelandic Tourist Board, overnight stays of foreign tourists in cars other than at campsites were 6,000 and the number of overnight stays with friends and relatives, through exchanges or in other places where no payment was made were 14,000.

Since a decrease in departures from Keflavík Airport has hampered the border study managed by Statistics Iceland and the Icelandic Tourist Board, data collection is ceased 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.

All numbers for 2020 are preliminary, except for hotel data which is preliminary for September 2020. 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. Due to abrupt changes in supply and occupancy rates, estimation for other types of accommodation 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.