Lonely Planet Writer

Iceland facing major accomodation shortage in its tourist hotspots

Iceland is suffering from an accommodation shortage in its tourist hotspots while room is available in other less popular parts of the country.

Iceland and Reykjavik enticing visitors at a greater rate than fresh accommodation can be provided for them
Iceland and Reykjavik enticing visitors at a greater rate than fresh accommodation can be provided for them Image by Brian Greenberg

The capacity deficiency has resulted in tour companies looking elsewhere because the northern island is unable to cope with the demand.

Iceland's tourist board introduces 'human search engine'.
Iceland’s head of farm holidays, Saevar Skaptason, says that accommodation is “very tight.” Image by biologyfishman / CC BY 2.0

The head of Iceland Farm Holidays, Sævar Skaptason, accepts that the accommodation situation is currently very tight.

He says that Iceland’s peak season is now starting earlier every year and then goes beyond the traditional cut-off point of late August.

Mr Saevar says the area hardest hit by the paucity of lodgings is along the south coast from the capital region to Höfn í Hornafirði.

The fully-booked signs are up across south Iceland and people are unable to get anywhere east or west, Mr Saevar is quoted as saying on ‘Iceland on review line’.

He added that the big tour operators had concentrated on bringing tourists to the hotspots while the aim was to spread the holiday-makers destinations across the island. The reason that was not happening was due to the fact that people weren’t co-operating well enough.

This had led to situations arising where some areas were suffering from bottlenecks while in others rooms were empty.

Snæland Grímsson travel company official, Sigríður Gróa Þórarinsdóttir agreed that accommodating tourists had become “a severe headache.”

He told Vísir  that despite their attempts to help visitors, the reality was that holiday-makers were being forced to change their dates or amend where they go to in Iceland.

The problem stemmed from the fact that hotel capacity was not meeting the rise in visitor numbers.