Iceland, which last year was rated the second-most 'over-touristed' country in the world, is seeing a sharp decline in visitors, and worse may be in the wings.
The 'over-tourism' tag came based on the ratio of visitors to residents, which had been rising sharply each year, and has been largely responsible for Iceland's recovery from the financial meltdown of ten years ago.
But this May, tourist visits were down 24% from the previous May, despite renewed interest in Game of Thrones, major parts of which were filmed in the island nation. And expectations for the critical summer season are being called 'shaky' at best. Airline and tourist-focused industries have already seen layoffs.
Government officials and the Central Bank are worried, and are lining up stimulus plans if needed; the bank has already dropped interest rates. According to the Bank's governor, "We are prepared for the possibility of a deeper recession, and the numbers we are getting on tourist arrivals seem to indicate that that may happen."
Photo: Thingvellir National Park, Iceland (DrFumblefinger/TravelGumbo)