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How Many Tourists is Too Many?

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How Many Tourists is Too Many?

Tourists on Sólheimajökull glacier.

Tourists on Sólheimajökull glacier earlier this month. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

On an average day, there are 26,000 tourists in Iceland, or 7.2 percent of the country’s population of 329,101. During the summer months, the number of tourists equals up to one in five people in the country.

The percentage is much higher than any other large country. Tourists in Spain make up 2.2 percent of the population, in France 2.0 percent, and in Italy 1.3 percent. Of smaller European nations, Estonia has the highest percentage with 4.0 percent, a little more than half that which Iceland has. Ireland has 3.7 percent and Denmark 2.5 percent, according to a new report from Íslandsbanki about tourism in Iceland.

Last year was a record year for the Icelandic tourism industry with more than one million tourists visiting the country. The bank forecasts a 26 percent increase on that number this year.

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