Iceland is booming. The northern island nation is quickly becoming one of the hottest European destinations.
There’s a lot of attention for a place that is extremely cold in the winter and only gets about four hours of daylight much of the year. There are, however, four reasons that could explain the explosion in tourism from 2010 to 2016, and the biggest one involves a natural disaster.
1. What volcano?
The 2010 eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull attracted worldwide attention by halting much of Europe’s air traffic for an entire week. Iceland’s tourism board capitalised on this attention by releasing a PR blitz campaign highlighting the natural beauty of Iceland and putting it in the minds of would-be travellers, according to Vox. That marketing campaign appears to have paid off.
2. More places to stay
Iceland’s popularity is peaking at the same time that services like Airbnb are making travel easier than ever. In addition, Iceland is seeing a major hotel boom in its major cities, and more major luxury brands arriving soon, according to Travel Pulse. Iceland saw a 36% increase in hotel stays from 2014 to 2015.
3. Iceland on TV
Iceland’s natural beauty has also attracted American media producers, introducing the country to a bevy of TV watchers who otherwise don’t pay attention to travel trends. For the sixth season of the US version of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” in 2010, producers decided to set an episode in Iceland, no doubt contributing to the massive increase of tourism to the country.
4. Iceland is relatively safe and stable
Iceland is shielded from many of the economic and terrorism issues that are troubling mainland Europe. While tourism is declining in many parts of Europe, the trendiness of Iceland makes it a bit of an outlier, notes Vox. It’s like going to Europe without really dealing with the problems plaguing the continent.
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