Preliminary results of the Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) indicate that tourism as a proportion of GDP amounted to 8.0% in 2019 compared to 8.1% in 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to revised results. Tourism as a proportion of GDP has therefore remained virtually unchanged since 2016. 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. TSA highlights tourism within the national accounting framework and covers both inbound tourism and domestic tourism.

In total, there were 2.6 million inbound tourism trips to Iceland in 2019, a decrease of 8.7% from the previous year. Tourists travelling to Iceland were primarily overnight visitors arriving by scheduled air transportation. Number of overnight visits decreased by 14.1% in 2019 while number of overnights decreased considerably less or by 1.7% compared to the previous year. In 2018, the number of overnight visits increased by 5.3% and number of overnights by 2.3%.

In July 2018, preliminary results for the contribution of tourism to GDP were published for 2017. Preliminary results indicated that tourism as a proportion of GDP was 8.6% compared to revised results amounting to 8.1% as published here. The difference between preliminary and revised results is largely attributable to specific tourism sub-items revised for 2017 as well as the previous years.

Inbound tourism expenditures amounted to 383.4 billion ISK in 2019
Expenditure of inbound tourists amounted to 383.4 billion ISK, compared to 394.2 billion ISK in 2018. Nearly a quarter of those expenditures were due to purchase of accommodation services, or 86.9 billion ISK. Inbound tourists spent 75.7 billion on travel agencies and reservation services and 63.2 billion on travels with domestic airlines, due to purchases of domestic and international flights, within, to and from Iceland.

Expenditures by inbound tourists as a 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.

Tourism consumption in Iceland 2009–2019 in each year prices
Billion ISK 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 20192
Internal tourism consumption, total166.6172.5202.6242.6275.4321.4392.2494.4528.2553.5552.6
Inbound tourism consumption92.690.4112.5137.3165.9197.7259.6345.6375.4394.2383.4
Domestic tourism consumption59.666.572.385.488.1102.1109.3122.3124.9129.9138.1
Other components of tourism consumption114.415.717.919.921.421.623.226.527.929.431.1

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 2019
When comparing tourism to other industries’ contributions to 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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