Iceland Considered Safe Destination
Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, head of tourism at Business Iceland (Íslandsstofa), tells Morgunblaðið it’s hard to predict how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will affect travel behavior and the willingness to travel.
“I’ve been in touch with travel companies, and the invasion seems not to have affected bookings yet…Some companies noticed an increase in bookings once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Iceland and at the border.”
She points out, though, that the invasion can affect Iceland in different ways, that is, with regard to prices and purchasing power.
“It can have an effect, because Iceland isn’t and never will be a cheap destination,” she notes. “The fact that Iceland is considered a very safe destination could have an effect as well.” She refers to a poll, conducted twice a year among travel wholesalers and travel agencies abroad, the latest result of which shows that Iceland scores very high in terms of safety. “It remains to be seen whether some people choose to travel to Iceland rather to mainland Europe and closer to the conflict area,” she remarks.
Experts predict that between 1.3 and 1.4 million tourists will visit Iceland this year, and Isavia, the company that operates Keflavík International Airport, expects 25 airlines to offer flights to Keflavík this summer, or as many as in the summer of 2019.
The war in Ukraine has hardly affected hotel bookings in Iceland, according to Kristófer Oliversson, head of FHG — an association of companies in the hotel business — and managing director of Center Hotels. “But the uncertainty remains,” he notes and adds that a new uncertainty factor has replaced the COVID pandemic.
Snorri Pétur Eggertsson, managing director of sales and marketing at KeaHotels tells Morgunblaðið he has not noticed any negative effect on hotel bookings as a result of the war. He states that although there is concern Americans will avoid traveling to Europe, he believes they will nonetheless continue to want to travel to Iceland.