What Other Countries Can Learn From Iceland’s Tourism Boom


Iceland is about to see seven tourists for
every one resident. So how did the island become one of the world’s
most popular tourist destinations? From 2008 to 2011, Iceland received more negative
publicity than ever before. Hit by the global financial crisis, the entire
banking system collapsed in its worst economic crash in history. Then in 2010 a series of local volcanic eruptions
created a massive ash cloud, shutting down a huge portion of European air traffic, affecting
as many as 10 million travellers. At the start of this downturn, passengers
coming to Iceland’s airports dropped by roughly 30%, crippling an already fledgling
industry. In light of these setbacks, the country’s
Tourism Board saw an opportunity to use this newfound publicity to embark on its biggest
foreign advertising campaign ever. They first produced a series of promotional
videos called Inspired by Iceland, depicting beautiful nature, food, and inspiring art
and culture, as well as live-streams of some of the country’s most iconic locations. There was also a huge increase in tours country-wide,
providing the infrastructure necessary to support the jump in tourism. But perhaps most importantly, two major airlines,
Icelandair and WOW air began offering budget flights to Iceland. Some promotions were as low as $99 each way
in 2016, down from as much as $1,500 just years earlier. Iceland was also able to play into traveller’s
fears about political instability elsewhere. The country has been named the safest in the
world by the Global Peace Index for six years running. Meanwhile, Europe and other popular destinations,
have actually seen a drop-off in tourism. Although a huge risk, the Promote Iceland
campaign paid off, and according to the New York Times, tourists are expected to outnumber
locals by seven to one in 2017. Just the number of American tourists jumped
by more than 500% between 2010 and 2016. Today, this industry indirectly constitutes
roughly 27% of Iceland’s more than 16-billion-dollar GDP. More than a quarter of jobs in the country
are also supported by tourism. In total, roughly 2 million tourists visited
Iceland in 2016, an incredible number for a population of just 335,000. Around the world, other countries are taking
note and following in Iceland’s footsteps. Thailand, Switzerland, and Greenland have
begun promoting their countries on Instagram, and producing more internet content to draw
in tourists. Others have taken advantage of film and television
to get their country on the map, not unlike the way Iceland agreed to serve as the backdrop
for HBO’s Game of Thrones, a concept known as “screen tourism”. New Zealand is similarly famous for its role
in the Lord of the Rings series, which bumped tourism in the country by 50% since the films
were released. But while the economic benefits are massive,
tourism does come with its own long-term drawbacks. For example, the infrastructure improvements
are necessary to make transportation and accommodation more appealing to travelers, but governments
usually don’t see profit from these investments for many years, and can even cause them to
go into debt. Tourists themselves are not necessarily focused
on making a country better. Higher costs to foreigners can lead to displacement
of locals and gentrification. Even in Iceland this is a problem, as young
people have since been priced out of the country’s capital, and entire buildings are purchased
solely to rent as AirBnb accommodations for tourists. Additionally, tourism also brings pollution,
climate change, and degradation of natural sites. Not only is there increased carbon dioxide
from travel vehicles, such as trains, planes and automobiles, but also popular vacation
spots, known for their beauty, can be destroyed by having too many visitors. Coral reefs, for example, are damaged all
around the world by recreational scuba divers and snorkelers, many of whom are tourists. In Iceland, the increase in visitors has even
led to an increase in traffic violations, as tourists allegedly look at the Aurora Borealis
in the sky rather than keeping their eyes on the road. Clearly, there are drawbacks. In 83% of developing countries, tourism is
a key economic force driving growth. In just 17 years, earnings from tourism in
developing countries jumped from $50 billion dollars to $260 billion. But those countries may not be ready to deal
with a flood of tourists, should they get as lucky as Iceland. While Iceland can serve as a model for successful
tourism advertising and investment, it is not without risks. Some countries may see the same success as
Iceland, but others should be wary of the pitfalls associated with a tourism boom. We can’t do episodes like this without our
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100 thoughts on “What Other Countries Can Learn From Iceland’s Tourism Boom

  1. What Other Countries Can Learn From Iceland's Tourism ….. well Iceland has about 5 tourists annually, just don't learn anything from them.

  2. France should follow Iceland's model after the terrorists publicity .
    But the caviar socialists sponsor muslims for their elections. Let's see the elections in NL, FR, DE

  3. im seeing alot of fucktards trying to make this about muslims why are you so obsessed with them leave them alone im just trying to watch video and scroll down into the comments to see what everyones thoughts are and all i see are racist Islamophobic hate speech.

  4. 1:36… Militant Attacks? Really… Terrorists, Islamic Terrorists, Islamic Jihadist Terrorists. ISIS… any of these would fit, but not militant.

  5. I find it funny that Seeker had previously made a video debunking GMO myths, and here they are promoting a product that prides itself on being non-GMO.

  6. I think one thing forgot here was the stunning images for the film 'Secret Life of Walter Mitty', ever since I saw that movie so badly want to visit Iceland 😀

  7. I'm going to this summer. I think the main reason why is just because people are just realizing how great Iceland is…

  8. Don't Want Muslims or Hispanics in your Countries..STOP INVADING THE MIDDLE EAST AND LATIN AMERICA.

  9. Iceland has it's own language, history, and culture. It's not like the U.S. where it was build by immigrant mostly from Europe some from other foreign countries.

  10. hey guys, Im from Iceland and I work in the tourism industry! If you guys want to ask anything about Iceland or tips on what to do there. Comment and ask!

  11. I live in cambodia I work at the airport. the proudest moment of my life is meeting 2 Icelanders in person, holding their blue passports. I'm so happy they visit our country

  12. 27% of GDP coming from tourism is risky. The public can be fickle.
    A balaned economy is the way to go. The USA is the second most visited country (after France) and earns more than twice as much as the second highest earner (Spain), but it accounts for 1% of American GDP.

  13. BREAKING: Trump Administration's reaction 'very positive' to invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to join the Commonwealth of Nations. If it happens, please do a video on it!

  14. I've been to Iceland and not only is it BEAUTIFUL (and cold + quirky) but it is so EASY to visit! English is spoken by I'd say 99% of Reykjavik plus locals are so friendly (and good-looking 😉 )

  15. Tourism are like Double edge knife, its can provide job and increasing the quality of life for the local but at same time bringing negative impact and the most challenging one is the diffrent in culture and behavior from the tourist and local. most devastating one is the local culture that didnt protected enough will be vanished because of culture that tourist bring.
    theres still problem like increased property cost, living space, traffic, and polution

    so yeah, for the country that still new at tourism it will be quite challenging but beneficial at the same time

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    Il███████████████████]… ▌︻╦╤─ Copy and Paste this all over YouTube
    ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤…. / Lets take back our beloved Seeker Daily.

  17. I was in Iceland for New Year’s Eve 2017-2018. When we were driving back to the place we where staying after the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Reykjavik we saw the northern lights above us.

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