“We have water that is wet,” boasts a Mark Zuckerberg lookalike in the commercial that the Iceland government has produced to promote tourism to the country, parodying the video made by the Facebook founder to announce the creation of the Metaverse.
A solitary island in the middle of the Norwegian Sea, with infinite horizons and primordial landscapes, Iceland aims to become an iconic tourist destination for the post-pandemic travel industry, thanks also to its natural social distancing as a result of the country having one of the world’s lowest population densities with just over three inhabitants per square kilometre.
Since 2008, the year when the Icelandic Krona collapsed as a result of the failure of the national banks, the country has recorded constant and exponential economic growth, above all, concerning the tourism sector, which in recent years has become the country’s primary source of income. Visitor numbers have increased from 500 thousand in 2010 to more than 2.5 million in 2018. This trend was obviously interrupted by the pandemic, however, the government responded with exceptional measures, thanks to which Iceland has had one of the lowest contagion rates in the world.
The country was thus able to reopen its doors to tourism almost immediately: it is estimated, in fact, that in 2022 the number of visitors will double compared with 2021. Iceland has managed to become an exotic destination that is within reach, above all for those coming from the American continent, the East coast of which is just a six-hour flight away.
The new government, led by youthful Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, is deploying huge investments to improve the island’s tourist infrastructure, especially to increase accessibility to the more remote areas that are visited less frequently than the classic destinations. Dirt roads will be tarmacked, new top end hotels will be opened and new itineraries will be created in national parks. All this will be conducted with an eco-sustainable approach to Iceland’s natural heritage, the fragility of which is due to the same feature that makes the country so unique – its isolation from the rest of the world.