Preliminary results of Tourism Satellite Accounts indicate that tourism as a proportion of GDP amounted to 8.6% in 2017. Tourism share of GDP was 8.1% in 2016 and 6.2% in 2015. The tourism as a proportion of GDP grew less in 2017 than in 2015 and 2016 but was comparable with rate of growth in the years 2012 to 2014. Tourism Satellite Accounts are produced by Statistics Iceland in order to calculate the contribution of tourism to the Icelandic economy, based on international standards in tourism statistics.

In total there were 2,690,465 inbound tourism trips to Iceland in 2017, an increase of 25.4% from the previous year. Tourists travelling to Iceland are primarily overnight visitors arriving by scheduled air transportation. Number of overnight visits increased by 24.1% while number of overnights increased considerably less or by 7.3%.

Inbound tourism expenditures amounted to 376.6 billion ISK in 2017
Expenditures of inbound tourists amounted to 376.6 billion ISK in 2017 compared to 346 billion ISK in 2016. Nearly a quarter of the expenditures were due to accommodation or 85.6 billion ISK. Inbound tourists spent 71.4 billion on travel agencies and reservation services and 65 billion on air passenger transport with Icelandic carriers on domestic and international flights to and from Iceland.

Expenditures by inbound tourists as proportion of total expenditures are greatest in industries that primarily sell services to tourists, such as travel agencies, hotels and guesthouses, car rentals and passenger transportation. In the past few years, the share of inbound tourist expenditures of total expenditures in industries that primarily service locals has been increasing. In 2017 inbound tourist expenditures amounted to 46% of total expenditures in food and beverage services in Iceland, 29% of sports and recreational services, 13.6% of cultural services and 4.5% of retail services.

Table 1. Tourism consumption in Iceland 2009–2017 in each year prices
Billion ISK 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2
Internal tourism consumption, total 167.9 173.8 204.5 245.0 278.6 319.3 388.7 491.4 534.0
Inbound tourism consumption 92.8 90.6 112.7 137.7 166.2 198.0 260.0 346.0 376.6
Domestic tourism consumption 60.6 67.4 73.8 87.2 90.7 99.5 105.4 119.2 130.6
Other components of tourism consumption¹ 14.5 15.8 18.0 20.1 21.7 21.8 23.3 26.2 26.9
¹ Imputed rental of summerhouses and employers’ expenses for business trips of their employees.  
2 Preliminary data  

Tourism proportion of GDP compared with other industries in 2017
When comparing tourism to other industries’ share of GDP, one must bear in mind that tourism is not classified as a separate activity in standard industrial classifications. Tourism as an industry is therefore assembled from a proportion of activities of multiple other industries.



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