While the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged Iceland’s tourism heavy economy, the country is using the downturn to make some much-needed upgrades to its infrastructure. Iceland announced a $12 million investment to upgrade and improve its existing tourism infrastructure to ensure the country can handle increased tourism in a post-pandemic world.
Iceland, a small island country in the North Atlantic, has absolutely exploded in popularity. The country only has a total population of roughly 360,000 people but has seen record growth in one of its most important economic sectors – tourism.
Tourist visits jumped from 459,000 in 2009 to over 2.3 million in 2018. While tourism dollars are much appreciated and needed for Iceland’s economy, the country wants to ensure they can continue to accommodate tourists while preserving the environment for generations to come.
The $12 million investment will improve roads and points of access, upgrading national park facilities, and preserving popular tourist sites. Along with the infrastructure investment, Iceland will be spending another $9 million to stimulate domestic travel for its own citizens. The $9 million will entail providing free travel vouchers, as well as a marketing campaign.
Regarding Covid-19, Iceland has done a relatively good job in containing the pandemic. They’ve reported over 4,200 cases with 10 confirmed deaths. They’ve experienced a recent surge in cases but instituted some additional lockdown measures to ensure cases remain under control.
I’ve personally never been to Iceland, but from all the pictures I’ve seen and word-of-mouth praise I’ve heard, it’s definitely towards the top of my bucket list. Hopefully, during the current lockdown, Iceland can give its amazing natural landscapes some time to rest and rejuvenate and make the necessary improvements for a sustainable tourism future.