Iceland considers a new tax on tourism

21st Mar 2017
Written by: Dave Owen


Iceland has become so popular with international visitors that the government is considering raising the taxes tourists are required to pay.

The country has experienced a tourism boom in the last decade, with the number of visitors rising by 20 per cent every year between 2010 and 2014. Iceland’s population is around 335,000, a number greatly outstripped by the 1.7 million tourists who visited in 2016.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Iceland’s tourism minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir said the ministry is looking at several options for increasing tourism fees. This could include raising the current hotel levy or require tour companies to obtain special licenses.

“This sector and all of us have to be careful not to become victims of our own success,” Gylfadottir said in the interview.

2.3 million tourists are expected in 2017.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Another option would be to limit access to popular sights to avoid them being ruined by overcrowding, similar to measures recently taken at the Angkor temple complex in Cambodia.

“Some areas are simply unable to facilitate one million visitors every year; if we allow more people into areas like that, we’re losing what makes them special—unique pearls of nature that are a part of our image and of what we’re selling,” Gylfadottir said.

The money raised from any increase in taxes would be used to improve infrastructure and facilities across Iceland, allowing it to better deal with tourist numbers.

Iceland is already an expensive destination to visit, and Gylfadottir claims these proposed measures aren’t intended make the experience any less pleasurable for visitors, but to protect what makes the country such a desirable destination in the first place.


Animal Rescue and Conservation

from £780

14 - 84 days

Volunteer in Costa Rica at an animal rescue center!

International Journalism Internship In Thailand

from £1030

60 - 180 days

Asia is the most populated continent on earth, making up about half of the world's total population.

In-Class TEFL Course in Zhuhai

from £1145

20 days

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Zhuhai and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

Wildlife Rescue in Tropical Thailand

from £645

7 - 84 days

Volunteer at a tropical Wildlife Rescue Centre which houses over 300 rescued animals including bears, monkeys and elephants. This project...

Elephant Conservation Volunteering in Thailand

from £965

7 days

Help to give elephants a chance to live in the wild on this inspirational project in Thailand

International Arts Internship In Thailand

from £1030

60 - 180 days

Thailand has become a hidden gem for artists, creators, and freelancers to pursue a professional career in the arts industry.

In-Class TEFL Course in Rome

from £1300

20 days

Join our 4-week TEFL in-class course in Rome and become a TEFL/TESOL certified teacher of English as a foreign language.

International Arts Internship In China

from £1240

60 - 180 days

China is a country that carries a lot of rich history, culture, and tradition, which shows tremendously in their arts...

Women’s Empowerment Programme

from £1265

26 - 182 days

On the banks of the River Mekong, this programme makes a genuine difference to local women in the area. Live...

International Marketing & PR Internship In Vietnam

from £1550

60 - 180 days

Vietnam is rapidly developing as one of the emerging markets in Southeast Asia.


Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

from £2337

Costa Rica

From the deep rainforests of Panama to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, witness all the natural splendour of...

Southern Runner

from £669

Fancy ticking off two of Europe’s most popular holiday hotspots? Yeah, we thought so. Say, “oui” to Paris, venture to...

Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival

from £1139


Full of lush rainforest landscapes, breathtaking cave systems, rolling rivers and lost islands, Sarawak is one of South East Asia’s...

Explore Northern Thailand

from £578


Northern Thailand is a treasure-trove filled with glittering temples, ancient ruins, exotic markets and sumptuous foods. Explore the capital of...

Local Living Ecuador—Amazon Jungle

from £441


The Amazon Rainforest is so full of life; embrace it for yourself during a week unlike any other. From Quito,...

Sydney to Cairns Northbound

from £2431


Explore Australia’s stunning east coast, taking in the iconic sights of Byron Bay, Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef,...

Zanzibar, Victoria Falls & Kruger

from £80

Don your pith helmet and khakis, explorers – it’s adventure time. This once-in-a-lifetime safari from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania...

USA & Canada Adventure

from £1488

Ah, the US of A. Its anthem echoes, “land of the free”, and freedom is certainly what you’ll experience on...

Ecuador Encompassed

from £1099


If you don’t want to leave Ecuador without seeing as much as you can but with some time to chill,...

African Insight

from £795

Enjoy a tasty little serving of the best Africa has to offer on this week-long safari between bustling Johannesburg and...

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]