Numbers of foreign visitors

Overnight visitors - All entry points

The total number of foreign overnight visitors to Iceland was just under half a million in 2020, a 75.8% decrease from 2019, when foreign visitors numbered around 2 million. This can be seen in the table to the right,  2016-2020.

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

  • Around 478 thousand came on flights through Keflavík International Airport or 98.4% of the total number of visitors. 
  • Around 6,400 visitors came with Norræna through Seyðisfjörður, or around 1.3% of the total.
  • Around 1,300 came on flights through Reykjavík Airport or Akureyri Airport, or 0.3% of the total.

For tourists who come through Keflavík Airport and with
Norræna, 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 1949-2020 (Excel).

Number of foreign passengers with cruise ships 2020 - all ports

Passengers arriving with cruise ships are counted separately and are not part of the numbers above. The total number of passengers in 2020 was about 2.300 thousand, a 99.6% decrease in passenger numbers from 2019, when they were about 549 thousand. 





Nationalities - Keflavik Airport 

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.*

Year-over-year (YOY):

*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.
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