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Nearly 14 Billion ISK to Reykjavík's Economy

In 2023, cruise ship passengers made a substantial economic impact on Reykjavík, contributing an estimated 14 billion ISK to the capital area, as per a survey by the Tourism Research Center for Faxaflóhafnir. This financial injection encompasses spending on various services like hotel accommodations, dining, local entertainment, car rentals, cultural activities, souvenirs, and other shopping.

The survey, conducted during the summer of 2023, revealed that out of 306,211 passengers arriving in Reykjavík and Akranes, almost half, or 148,615, were turnaround passengers. These passengers, primarily from expedition ships, arrived at Keflavík Airport, boarded in Reykjavík, and disembarked in the city after completing their voyages.

Impact of Overnight Tax on the Cruise Industry

There is speculation about a potential decline in cruise ship arrivals in 2024, with estimated arrivals at 263 and 308,584 passengers, including 159,795 turnaround passengers. The recently introduced overnight tax, charging ISK 1,000 per passenger for each night within Icelandic jurisdiction, may contribute to cancellations, with the first cruise ship of the summer season expected on March 21.

To gather accurate data, the Ports of Faxaflóa commissioned the Tourism Research Center to survey cruise ship passengers in Reykjavík during the summer of 2023. The survey disclosed an average spending of 44,717 ISK per passenger, with turnaround passengers spending an average of ISK 97,626 and staying for an average of 2.15 nights. In contrast, general passengers spent ISK 27,912 while docked in Reykjavík.

Turnaround Passengers and Future Travel Intentions

Among turnaround passengers, 41% expressed the belief that they would return to the country, opting for air travel. Sigurður Jökull Ólafsson, marketing director of Faxaflóa ports, emphasized that these findings align with studies on the European continent, indicating that cruises often serve as a prelude to a destination that is subsequently revisited.

The survey results underscore the satisfaction of cruise ship passengers, with 89% reporting being very satisfied or satisfied with their visit to Reykjavík. Sigurður Jökull commented that these insights highlight the significant contribution of turnaround passengers to the capital area's business landscape, reaffirming their commitment to enhancing the value of cruise ship arrivals by fostering passenger turnarounds in Reykjavík.