Americans and Canadians seem to be taking advantage of the favorable exchange rate since the collapse of three of Iceland’s largest commercial banks, last fall. Icelandair has spotted a business opportunity and adds Seattle to its network in July.
Departure statistics gleaned from the Iceland Tourist Board’s website reveal a great increase in the number of Americans and Canadians leaving the country. January-March statistics reveal 19 and 28.5 percent increase respectively—compared to same period last year. Total foreign visitor departures are down 6.4 percent, partly due to fewer Polish migrant workers traveling to and from the country.
The Icelander’s wanderlust has somewhat been dampened by the bank-crisis. Last year the local currency bought twice as much foreign currency as it does today—inevitably discouraging many Icelanders from traveling abroad.
Iceland with a population of just over 300,000 received over half a million foreign visitors in 2008. Tourism, along with fishing and export of smelted aluminum, are the country’s three most important export industries.
Icelandair in North America services Boston, Minneapolis, Orlando, Halifax, New York and Toronto. The airline’s new four times a week service to Seattle starts 22 July.