Tourism Administration Acts

On January 1st 2019 two new acts of law in the field of tourism entered into force;

The most extensive changes in the legislation are in matters /issues pertaining to improved consumer rights and safety.

All parties organizing, combining, selling or operating tours must, hold a valid licence from the Icelandic Tourist Board. Licences are issued in two categories: Authorized Travel Agency and Authorized Day Tour Provider.

The definition of package travel is redefined and broadened and a new concept of linked travel arrangements is introduced.

Many of those who have hitherto been exempt from mandatory licencing and from providing insolvency protection for the selling and organizing of package travel and  facilitation of linked travel arrangements fall under the scope of the new legislation.

All parties operating tours in Iceland are required to compile safety plans for each type of tour offered.

Licences for travel agencies issued under the former legislation keep their validity.

A new regulation (No. 150/2019) regarding insolvency protection for the sale of package travel and facilitation of linked travel arrangements has been issued. The date for annual submission of data for the determination of the amount of insolvency protection has been moved forward and is now on April 1st each year.

Holders of tour operator licences and registered booking servicec were required to renew their licences prior to April 1st on the basis of the new legislation.


Two types of licences

All parties organizing, combining, selling and operating tours are required to hold a valid licence. 
Licences are issued in two categories:

  • Authorized Travel Agency
    Applicable to all parties falling under the scope of Act No. 95/2018 on package travel and linked travel arrangements
  • Authorized Day Tour Provider
    Applicable to parties offering tours that are not covered by Act No. 95/2018 on package travel and linked travel arrangements. 

The concept of booking service is no longer applicable under the new acts of law; registered booking services were required to apply for appropriate licence prior to April 1st 2019. The operation of information centres must be registered with the Icelandic Tourist Board.

A broader definition of package travel

The concept of package travel is redefined and broadened, including more varied combinations of travel arrangements than simply pre-defined tour packages.

A new concept – linked travel arrangements

Furthermore a new concept of linked travel arrangements is introduced by the law. The short definition of linked travel arrangement is that it entails at least two different types of travel services purchased for the same trip or holiday, not constituting a package, resulting in the conclusion of separate contracts with the individual travel service providers. Parties facilitating linked travel arrangements must provide insolvency protection as is required of those providing package travels.

Increased consumer rights - more comprehensive information to travellers

Sellers of package travel are required to provide more comprehensive information regarding consumers’ rights than under the former legislation. Parties facilitating linked travel arrangements are also required to provide information on consumers’ rights.

More parties are required to hold licences and provide insolvency protection

It is evident that many of those who were not required to hold a licence or provide insolvency protection under ther former legislation fall under the new acts of law; this may e.g. apply to the operation of booking services, airlines, accommodation and car-rental companies that facilitate linked travel arrangements.

Safety plans made mandatory

Anyone operating organized tours within Icelandic territory is required to compile safety plans for all types of tours. Safety plans must be updated regularly and made available in English as well as Icelandic. Further information on safety plans and guidelines for compiling those can be found on the Icelandic Tourist Board website.

Licences for Travel Agencies keep their validity

Licences for Travel Agencies, issued under the former legislation keep their validity, new logos have been issued and sent to all licenced Travel Agencies. Licenced travel agencies are not required to renew their licences.

A new regulation (No. 150/2019) regarding insolvency protection for the sale of package travel and facilitation of linked travel arrangements has been issued. The date for annual submission of data for the determination of the amount of insolvency protection has been moved forward and is now on April 1st  each year. The regulation has not been published in English, further information on the annual submission of data for travel agencies can be found in Icelandic on the Icelandic Tourist Boards website.

Tour Operators and Booking Services should already have renewed their licences

Parties licenced as tour operators or registered as booking services under the former acts of law were given a grace period until April 1st 2109 to apply for a renewal of licence. Those who have not submitted an application for a renewal of licence are considered as operating without a licence and are advised to submit an application a.s.a.p. to avoid legal consequences.

A good understanding of the new legislation is highly important

The aforementioned amendments to the legislation have considerable effects on the operating environment of tourism companies. It is important that tourism executives acquire a good understanding of the new acts of law.

When the new acts of law entered into force the Tourism Administration Act no. 73/2005 and Act No. 80/1994 on package tours were repealed.

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