The increase in foreign currency revenues in tourism during the few past year are equal to the total foreign currency income from all cod fishing around Iceland. If the growth prediction for the next three years is accurate, the increase alone during these three years will be more than 50% of the total aluminum export revenues.
It is expected that more than one million tourists will visit Iceland next year, excluding cruise ship travelers. The total export revenue in tourism was 275 billion ISK last year, or 15.4% of GDP. This is the first time ever that tourism is the largest export sector in Iceland. Fisheries and aluminum are in second and third place, respectively.
It is expected that the number of tourist visiting Iceland will increase by 18% this year, and by 15% next year. After that the increase will seek the long term average and be around 9% annually. If this prediction turns out to be accurate the export revenue of tourism will have increased by 220 billion ISK from 2010 - 2016. That is more than the total aluminium exports last year.
The increase during the next three years alone could be around 130 bn ISK, more than 60% of total aluminium export revenues. This development could help with lifting the capital controls in Iceland, and it will help Icelanders repay foreign debt. If the prediction is correct, tourism could increase GDP growth by 2.3 percentage points annually.