During the last five years, Iceland has experienced an unprecedented surge in visitation. The North Atlantic island nation known for its rugged landscapes, northern lights, and artistic innovations has become a popular year-round destination, and the sudden growth has solidified tourism’s important economic role. But the newfound prosperity brings new challenges with it. How can a rapidly-maturing destination manage its product responsibly and sustainably while accounting for how tourism affects its residents, environment, and capacity to accommodate eager visitors?
Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir is the Director General of Icelandic Tourist Board and also serves as Vice President of the European Tourism Council (ETC). She will give a keynote presentation at the upcoming Destination Think! Forum in New York City in on October 13-14, and we spoke with Ólöf to learn about Iceland’s approach to destination management, the impact of Airbnb, and trends that affect tourism across Europe.
This is an excerpt from an interview published on Destination.Think! To read the full story, go to Iceland’s stunning tourism growth offers a window into the future of destination management.