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Icelandic Tourist Board

The Icelandic Tourist Board is an independent authority under the Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs. Its activities are regulated through the Act on the Icelandic Tourist Board and the Act on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements.

The Icelandic Tourist Board shall monitor and promote the development of tourism as an important and sustainable pillar of the Icelandic economy, having regard to the carrying capacity of Icelandic nature and society, as well as facilitate coordination, analyses and research in the tourism sector in accordance with government policy.

Granting licenses and legislation

Travel agencyThe registration and issuance of operation licenses are amongst the tasks of the Icelandic Tourist Board. In this rapidly growing industry, professionalism is an integral reqirement of operations and the requirements stipulated by law are a part of improving the quality of Icelandic tourism and securing consumer protection within the tourism industry.

A license must be applied for in order to operate a travel agency or day tour provider. A registration certificate is required for the running of information centres. All those who obtain licenses from the Icelandic Tourist Board are required to display the graphical logo from the Icelandic Tourist Board on their websites and in any advertising.

The Icelandic Tourist board plays an active role in developing the regulatory framework for tourism in Iceland through participation in legislation and various interactions with legislators and other governmental agencies.

Quality issues - VAKINN

vakin logo

Vakinn, the quality and environmental certification for Icelandic tourism is based on Qualmark - New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. Much work has been put into adapting the system to Icelandic conditions involving various stakeholders in tourism as well as specialists from diverse fields of expertise.

The Vakinn star rating criteria for hotels is, however, composed according to the European Hotelstars system, led by the Hotrec Association. Star rating criteria for other categories of accommodation are based on the Qualmark system.

The aim of Vakinn is to strengthen quality, safety and environmental awareness within Icelandic tourism by means of guidance and support and promote social responsibility of tourist service providers in the process. For its members, Vakinn is an effective tool to increase quality and safety, providing diverse supplementary materials, guidelines, data and check-lists that are useful in improving operating procedures.

Research and statistics

Tourism research and data gathering are vital for its development, and the Icelandic Tourist Board is involved in a variety of ways, for example by conducting surveys among domestic and foreign tourists, disseminating reports on business and industry issues and participating in research projects within the various fields of tourism.

The Icelandic Tourist Board is responsible for the tallying of tourists who pass through the airport terminal at Keflavík International airport and registering their nationalities. Results are an important tool for marketing, evaluation of success and the shaping of public policy for industry.

Regional development

This aspect is gaining more importance at the Icelandic Tourist Board. In 2015 the Icelandic Tourist Board, along with the Tourism Task Force, launched the development of Destination Management Plans (DMPs). This holistic approach takes into account the planning and coordination of development and management of tourist flows in each region and strengthens the local tourism support frameworks.

Environmental issues

Iceland natureEnvironmental issues are a major factor in the development of tourism, due to the sensitive nature of Icelands environment and the fact that a large majority of visitors to the island site its unique nature as the determining factor for the visit. The creation in 2011 of the Tourist Site Protection Fund, hosted at and serviced by the Icelandic service board, has led to substantial funding increases for improvements in popular tourist attractions and national parks. .

The Icelandic Tourist Board works in close co-operation with municipalities, government agencies, individuals, organisations and companies. However, all projects have the goal of improving access around the country and increasing the tolerance limits of tourism areas.

Distribution of information

The organisation maintains and regularly publishes diverse information on the development of the industry and operates the largest database concerning tourism in Iceland. The Icelandic Tourist Board's website,, contains a wealth of information regarding the organisation and is, at the same time, an information provider on tourism in Iceland, its scope and development.


Co-operation with others is an integral part of the Tourist Boards activities. Among those in close cooperation are e.g.:

The Icelandic Tourist Board participates in international co-operation, e.g. within the European Travel Commission and the North Atlantic Tourist Association.

Planning to visit Iceland? 

Visit Iceland is the official destination marketing office for Iceland and aims to attract travelers to Iceland. The Visit Iceland team works effectively on promoting and marketing to consumers in cooperation with the tourism industry under the umbrella brand of Inspired by Iceland.