Experts discuss interest in the expensive Icelandic direction in the Russian market amid a marked decrease in tourist flow from other countries. Over the eight months of 2019, Iceland was visited by almost 1.4 million foreign tourists - 13% less than the same period last year, Iceland media reports. According to the PCT, the decline in tourist flow authorities of the island state associated with the bankruptcy of the Icelandic company Wow Air in March this year.
Next year, the Icelandic tourism industry expects an increase in tourist flow by about 3% and another 5% in 2021, which will allow two years to approach the rate of entry of 2.2 million people a year.
Meanwhile, tour operators interviewed by the PCT note that the bankruptcy of the Icelandic low-cost airline did not affect the Russian market. “We use Iceland Air flights on domestic routes”, said Irina Medvedeva, manager of Vand. But the high cost of travel to Iceland creates problems for the growth of tourist flow from Russia. For example, a group weekly tour per person for double occupancy will cost 2.6 thousand euro without a flight and a visa. An air ticket with luggage on direct flight S7 will add another 450 euro.
“And this is still a good price, because Aeroflot tickets with transfers change on average from 500 euro, and for high dates at 700 euro and above. And the tour is excellent, in different cities of the north and south of the island with accommodation not only in Reykjavik. Iceland is a country for sophisticated tourists who want to see something new, to experience the power of wildlife”, said Ms Medvedeva.
The company “Russian Express” on summer dates collects mini-groups in Iceland with guaranteed arrivals. But talking about a large flow to this country from Russia is impossible, says Anna Filatovskaya, director of the department of advertising and PR. “Iceland is a purely individual direction. When the weekly direct flights from Moscow were restored, there were a little more people wishing to visit this beautiful island, but in general we send less than a hundred people per year”, she said.
According to the PCT, the tourism infrastructure in Iceland is not very developed, but hotels are being built. This year alone, 430 new hotel rooms will be commissioned in Reykjavik, 330 in other regions of the country. They plan to complete the construction of another 250 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area next year and 520 in two years. The average occupancy rate of hotels in Reykjavik and its environs from January to July is 73%, and in other regions - 40-65%.
In an interview with our portal, Daria Domostroeva, head of the Inturist PR department, noted: “Sales of tours to Iceland, of course, are individual by nature; there is no need to talk about mass rides. We opened Iceland this year, as we see growth opportunities in this direction. The destination has potential, especially for sightseeing tours.
The sales of the destination would be greatly facilitated by the great activity of the country's Tourism Council and its work with the tour operator community”.
“The presence of direct flights from Moscow is definitely positive news for tourists. However, this direction cannot be called very popular, Iceland has never been among the top visited European countries due to the fact that traveling to this country, as a rule, is always more expensive than to many other European countries. The average cost of tours to Iceland is 3-4 thousand euro, some tours reach up to 8 thousand euro or more.
All programs in Iceland are exclusively related to visiting the natural attractions of this country. Therefore, mainly in this country are sent to individual tours. Most often, these are sophisticated older tourists, those who have already visited many places, with a good income and consciously striving to discover the amazing nature of this country”, the BSI Group tour operator told us in turn.