Head of the Confederation of Icelandic Industries, Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, said in an interview with visir.is yesterday that the amount that tourists spend in Iceland varies greatly between individuals. In Guðrún’s opinion, tourism should contribute more to the local economy.
As reported, there are signs that Icelanders are becoming frustrated with the high prices of tourism goods and services during the summer months. A ISK 1,290 (USD 10, EUR 7.75) piece of cake sold in the Mývatn area, North Iceland, recently made headlines. Guðrún, however, commented that as long as the cake is good, she would be willing to pay for it. “I think we can do better and we must not be shy about what tourists spend and the money they leave behind,” she said.
Guðrún is particularly unhappy about large groups of people who visit Iceland but which do not spend much money, particularly cruise ship passengers or tourists who arrive with their own car on the ferry and bring their own guide and food supplies. “There is an average of around 5,000 people on every ship and they come with their own food, so passengers rarely buy anything,” she said.
She would also like to see the tax system simplified so that there is just one VAT rate, 14 or 16 percent.