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Numbers of foreign visitors

Overnight visitors - All entry points

The total number of foreign overnight visitors to Iceland was just over 1.7 million in 2022, a 146% increase from 2021, when foreign visitors numbered just over 700 thousand. This can be seen in the table to the right,  2012-2022.

As can be seen from the table, there was a large increase in passengers in the period 2012-2018. There was a 14% decrease in the number of passengers between the years 2018-2019, but the number of passengers then decreased significantly when the corona virus epidemic passed. The number of passengers increased again between the years 2021 and 2022, and the number in 2022 was 73.2% of what it was in the record year 2018 and 85.2% of what it was in 2019, the year before the epidemic hit.

The estimated number for Akureyri international airport is 2.400 passengers for the year 2022. Figures for Reykjavík international airport are not available, but they do not weigh heavily on the whole, or less than 1% considering the last few years.

The graph under the table shows the development graphically over the last 5 years, both the number and the change from the previous year.

  • Around 1.7 million came on flights through Keflavík International Airport or 98.9% of the total number of visitors. 
  • Around 18,500 visitors came with MS Norröna ferry through Seyðisfjörður seaport, or around 1.1% of the total.
  • For tourists who come through Keflavík Airport and with Norröna, you can see the breakdown by nationality. See more detailed information (updated monthly) for Keflavík Airport below.

You can also get the number of Foreign visitors to Iceland 1949-2022 (Excel).

Nationalities for Keflavik Airport - Updated monthly

Almost 99% of visitors to Iceland come through Keflavik Airport. The counting of departing passengers at the airport provides additional information on the composition of visitors to Iceland. This is done by manual counting just before the visitors enter the airport security. It´s worth mentioning that, by using this method, all passengers that go through the security check, are included in these numbers. Therefore these figures need to be viewed with a certain caution. It has to be emphasized, though, that most transit passengers are not included in these numbers.*

*By using the same method, valuable statistics regarding the number of visitors and the composition of nationalities have been gathered, that are comparable from year to year. Results from surveys conducted among departure passengers indicate that 86.3-92.7% were visiting Iceland for personal or commercial purposes. Those who only used the airport to change flights, i.e. self – connecting between flights of two different carriers / airlines, turned out to be 1.7-4.8%. Another 1.6-6% had enjoyed some services (sightseeing, recreation, meals etc.) outside the airport without staying overnight. Additional 2.7-4.7% were foreign citizens living in Iceland for a shorter or longer time. These percentage figures could vary between months and seasons.

Visitors with MS Norröna through Seyðisfjörður seaport

Open as excel document

Number of foreign passengers with cruise ships

In addition, there are cruise ship passengers, but they are counted as day tourists and are not part of the numbers above. About 171,000 cruise ship passengers arrived at the Port of Reykjavík in 2022, or 90.5% of what they were in 2019, which was a record year for cruise ship arrivals in the country.

See the division by nationality in an excel document