Iceland is expecting around 100,000 tourists to arrive by cruise ship this summer, as the sector becomes ever more important to the economy.
“It is clear that the popularity of Iceland is always increasing as the array of cruise ships planning to visit Iceland is increasing. We will see a fun new innovation in March when two ships will come here on special northern lights cruises, which has never happened before,” says Björn Einarsson, director of TVG Zimsen, the biggest cruise ship servicing company in Iceland.
“It is the ships Marco Polo and Discovery and the plan is for them to be here when the next solar eclipse occurs on 20th March 2015. And then the cruise ship Disney Magic will come to Reykjavík next July and stop overnight at Skarfabakki. That will be the first time a Disney ship visits Iceland.”
Björn concludes that Iceland’s draw as a cruise ship destination is constantly increasing.
“We find from foreign cruise lines that tourists’ interest in sailing here is increasing year-on-year and that people see Iceland as the key player in the northern regions,” Björn says. He adds that there are several innovations in the field, including the new northern lights cruises and the arrival of the first Disney ship, on a cruise inspired by the recent hit movie, Frost. Icelanders can expect new and exciting opportunities to arise as a result, Björn enthuses.
Vísir reports that the Japanese cruise ship Asuka II will be TVG Zimsen’s first arrival to the country this year, visiting Reykjavík on 20th to 21st May, carrying 960 passengers.
“Cruise ships are a very important part of the constantly growing tourism industry, which was Iceland’s biggest export sector in 2013. The total export revenue from the tourism sector last year was ISK 275 billion,” Björn says.
2013 was the first year that the tourist sector was the country’s number one generator of foreign currency income.