A recent survey conducted by the Icelandic Tourist Board shows that more Icelanders traveled abroad last year than in any year before, RÚV reports. The survey, which also gathers information on Icelanders’ attitudes toward foreign visitors and the tourism industry, has been conducted since 2010.
80% of Icelanders traveled abroad last year, taking an average of two to three trips out of the country. The most popular destinations were the British Isles, Spain (including the Canary Islands), and Portugal.
84% of Icelanders also traveled domestically last year, taking an average of six vacations within the country. The most popular destinations were North and South Iceland, with a little over half of these travelers opting to stay in their own summer homes or with friends or family, rather than paying for accommodations in hotels or guesthouses. 68% of those surveyed said that they’d taken an average of four to five day trips within the country last year.
The survey also returned some interesting findings related to Icelanders’ attitudes towards foreign tourists and the tourism industry. For instance, about half of the respondents said that tourists had increased Icelander’s interest in nature. This was roughly the same percentage that responded this way last year, but this number is lower than it was in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Similarly, about half of the respondents said that tourists had increased Icelanders’ interest in their own culture, which is up a little from last year, although it’s suspected that the percentage of people holding this opinion will decline in the future.
About 45% of people surveyed believed that tourism had increased the variety of services available in Iceland and a similar percentage believed that tourists had changed Icelandic society for the better. Lastly, nearly 75% of people surveyed agreed that tourists were putting too much strain on Icelandic nature.