Hotel Operators Expect Another ‘Summer of Icelanders’

Vala Hafstað

Most hotel operators in Iceland interviewed by Morgunblaðið are prepared for mainly domestic demand this summer.

“Every day, the hope for a large influx of tourists this summer is diminished,” states Friðrik Pálsson, owner of Hótel Rangá, South Iceland. “We do hope, though, that it can happen the latter part of the summer – in July or August.”

“We’re prepared to receive our countrymen again this summer,” states Magnea Þórey Hjálmarsdóttir, managing director of Icelandair Hotels, “and we’ll continue to have exciting offers in terms of accommodation, food, and so-called pampering packages, in cooperation with companies offering recreation in every region – packages that have been very popular among Icelanders.”

She explains that what distinguishes the domestic market is that Icelanders generally bring more children along than do foreign tourists. This calls for extra beds and mattresses.

Magnea hopes for a good summer in terms of tourism, but admits it all hinges on how well vaccinations proceed, not only in Iceland, but all around the world.

Davíð Torfi Ólafsson, managing director of Íslandshótel, states that there is every indication this summer will be a ‘summer of Icelanders,’ such as last summer, when most of the guests were Icelandic. Still, he states, it is unclear whether there will be several very busy weeks, like June and July last summer, or whether traffic will be spread out over the summer. Last summer, it took people a while to decide they would travel domestically only, he explains.

He states that government measures enabled hotels to offer lower prices last summer. Preparations for the summer are in full swing. The decision has been made to allow guests to bring their dogs to all 17 hotels of Íslandshótel.

“There is strong interest in traveling,” states Friðrik Pálsson. We sense that, not least among Americans, but a number of things have to work out,” he admits.

His hope is that by the beginning of July and in August, we’ll see foreign tourists in Iceland, albeit not in as large numbers as before. If foreign tourists do return this summer, that will make a big difference, he states. “If they don’t, it will be a big blow to the travel industry.”

He notes he has greatly enjoyed receiving Icelandic guests during the past semesters. “We look forward to their continued business and that of foreign tourists as well.”

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