The number of Chinese tourists in Iceland has increased almost tenfold since 2010, from about 5,000 to about 48,000 in 2015, RÚV reports. This winter, 26 Chinese people have been registered in tourist guides education at the Icelandic School of Travel and Tourism. The classes are taught in Chinese, and most of the students reside in Iceland.
Last month, almost 4,500 Chinese tourists visited Iceland. That’s more than double their number in February of 2015.
Last year, the largest group of tourists to visit Iceland was from the US, or 243,000, which is five times their number in 2010. Tourists from the UK came in second, 241,000, or four times as many as in 2010. Chinese tourists were the seventh largest group last year, but so far this year, they are in third place in terms of numbers. If the current trend continues, Chinese citizens could become the third largest group to visit Iceland every year.
According to Steingrímur Þorbjarnarson, a guide who also teaches the prospective guides, his students are answering an increased demand by Chinese tourists. The groups of visitors, he states, are larger than before, the tours longer, and the tourists want to be better informed.