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2,2 million foreign passengers 2017

Departures of foreign passengers from Iceland through Keflavík International Airport were 2,195,271 in the year 2017. This is 427,545 more than 2016 or an increase of 24.2%, according to figures from the Icelandic Tourist Board and Isavia.

Close to half the increase from North America

When divided into marketing zones, North America tops the list with 680,000 departures with the most annual increase as well, 181.000 or 36.3%. Departures of Central / South Europeans increased by 21.8%, from 356,000 to 434,000. Departures of UK citizens were 322,000 and of Nordic Countries travellers 181,000 in the year 2017, an increase of about 6000 passengers from each of the marketing zones. When divided by nationality, US and UK citizens are by far the most numerous with 41% of the total number of departures, followed by Germans (7.1%), Canadians (4.7%) and the French (4.6%).

Increase in winter tourism

All the seasons showed an increase in departures of foreign passengers between the years 2016 and 2017. Percentage wise it was the most in spring (36.7%) and winter (32.9%) but less in summer (17.1%) and fall (15.5%). If we look at the share of each season in the total number of departure increase between 2016 and 2017 (427,000) we see that 42.4% of the total increase was in the wintertime, 26.2% in the summer, 18.8% in spring and 12.1% in the fall. The share of winter tourism increased in all marketing zones except in the Nordic countries. This is similar to the trend seen in recent years towards less fluctuation in tourism between seasons.

Measuring the impact of tourism

The Icelandic Tourism Board would like to emphasize, that the number of departures of foreigners is one indication of the trend in tourism in Iceland. To get a clearer picture of the impact of tourism we must look at other factors as well, for example number of overnight stays and travel expenditure.

Further information

Visitors to Iceland through Keflavik Airport, 2003-2017 (Excel)