Tourism heats up after Icelandic Meltdown: 400% increase in Iceland flight searches
Flight search traffic for UK-Iceland routes has risen by 400% over the last month, according to the flight search engine, Skyscanner.
Those who have been affected by Iceland’s financial woes may not appreciate it, but since the Icelandic economy ran into trouble, it appears travellers are making the most of the meltdown, cashing in on the weakening króna to visit the Atlantic island which has traditionally been perceived as an expensive destination.
Data from Skyscanner has shown that searches for flights from the UK to Reykjavik have rocketed by 400% since Iceland began hitting the headlines in October, suggesting that Iceland’s tourist industry could benefit from its banking crisis.
Though prices for food, drink and accommodation have not changed in Iceland itself, the devaluation of the Icelandic króna means that you now get much more for your money. Back in April 08, £1 would buy you just 143 krónur, but by early October, this had jumped up to a high of 223 krónur, effectively meaning that Iceland had just become 56% cheaper, almost overnight (currency data according to Exchange-Rates.org ).
Savvy travellers seem to have cashed in, buying in their krónur and taking advantage of cheap flights to Iceland that can be found for as little as £105 on Skyscanner, while exchange rates remain favourable to those earning British pounds.
Barry Smith, Co-founder and Director of Business Development of Skyscanner said:
“Iceland has always held an exotic allure for Brits, although the expense has put a lot of people off from visiting. But the change in value of the krónur has meant that Iceland has suddenly become an affordable destination and people are jumping at the chance to pay a visit.”
So what's so cool about Iceland anyway?
Reykjavik: in Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital, (which is the world's most northerly) you’ll find cosy cafes, pulsating night clubs and chic restaurants serving national delicacies (puffin pâté anyone?). Encircled by mountains and the sea, the city is ideal for a short break or as a starting point for a longer trip into the rugged wilds of the country.
Great Outdoors: Iceland’s striking landscape is one of its biggest pulls. As a country which is literally still growing, you can watch new land forming before your very eyes. Visit glowing lava fields, smouldering volcanoes, deafening waterfalls, majestic ice-caps and bubbling mud pools, in a country that boasts four national parks and Europe’s largest glacier.
Thermal Soak: enjoying the warm thermal waters emanating from the centre of the earth is a very popular activity in Iceland, with hot springs and pools found in almost every town in the country. Forming an important meeting place for locals, why not strip off and chew the fat in a 40C hot pot, while snow falls from an Icelandic sky?
Ski & Snowboard: If you want to get active, hit the Icelandic slopes; Iceland has mountains over 2000m high and its northerly location means they get fed with plenty of snow. The country has several ski areas; Bláfjöll, just 30 minutes drive from Reykjavik is the largest with 11 lifts, floodlit night skiing and cross country trails on offer.
Wildlife: Iceland’s abundance of untouched nature means masses of fauna to see; Husavik in the north of the country is considered to be the whale watching capital of Europe. Take a boat tour and look out for the abundant minke, blue, humpback, sei and killer whales, as well as pods of dolphin and porpoise.
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