Spoke at conference on Tourism and Investment yesterday. I may have said things that were not in agreement with the rest of the speaker as it relates to the number of tourist visitors to Iceland. I think everyone wants to believe that the upward trend is going to continue but I disagree. My assessment is that 2011 was by far the best year and it was the peak, 2012 will be flat or can be lower than 2011. Here are my reasons:
- Travel today is easy, you can find remote places, book your ticket, learn more about the place before you leave your chair and get connected with local people and/or ask your friends/family/trust network how is this place you are visiting. Given this background, the choice of travel destinations have widened a lot. Iceland has to compete with all other remote, unique and different places. What is going for Iceland is the nature and the experience past travelers have had
- Euro Zone is going to go into recession and the first thing anyone cuts when you need to conserve is Travel
- However, US market is picking up so there may be more visitors coming from there to offset the slowdown from the Euro zone countries.
- Iceland had one of the best PR and marketing campaign conducted by the Global media in 2010 because of the Eyjafjalljokul eruption and then again in April of 2011 there was another smaller eruption. The pictures, videos and discussion of the volcano basically brought attention to Iceland and that drove the tourism numbers. Nothing like that has happened in the past 6 months.
Here is a graph from Google Insights for Search: