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Iceland Filling Up Fast but Capacity Not Being Used

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Iceland Filling Up Fast but Capacity Not Being Used

Lighthouse South Iceland

Not a hotel. South Iceland. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

There are widespread shortages of accommodation space for visitors around Iceland during the high season, meaning tour companies are unable to take interested visitors because there is often nowhere for them to stay.

Sævar Skaptason, head of Iceland Farm Holidays, says the situation is very tight at peak periods. The peak tourist season is starting earlier each year and extending further on after August and many places are fully-booked, he says.

The situation is worst all along the south coast, from the capital region to Höfn í Hornafirði, Sævar says. “South Iceland is fully-booked and people can’t get east or west. Big players have concentrated on drawing people here and are only looking at the hotspots. The goal is to spread the burden, but it is not going well because people are not working well enough together.”

Sævar explains that there are often rooms going empty, while there are bottlenecks at other sites.

Sigríður Gróa Þórarinsdóttir from travel company Snæland Grímsson told Vísir that finding accommodation for guests has become a severe headache in peak periods. “We try to help people as much as we can but often people have to amend their trips or come at different times,” she says—adding that the number of hotels is not rising in proportion to the number of visitors.

Íslandsbanki bank predicts a 29 percent increase in the number of tourists visiting Iceland this year and only a 5.8 percent increase in hotel accommodation space.

“Our big project is to distribute tourists better across the country,” Skapti Örn Ólafsson, from the association of tourism service providers, says.

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