Iceland a Cheap Vacation Destination After Banking Crisis

As a habitual traveler, I’ve been waiting for this. From Spiegel:

Icelanders may face a difficult future, but the country’s troubles have also give tourists reason to rejoice. Before the global financial crisis, Reykjavik was a luxury destination by Western European standards. The island, known for its glaciers, fjords and volcanoes, was considered beautiful, dark, cold — and expensive.

The Economist rated Iceland as the world’s most-expensive country in its annual ” Big Mac Index,” a measure based on the theory of purchasing-power parity. Before devaluation of the national currency, one euro was worth approximately 90 krona. After the crisis, Iceland’s national bank fixed the rate at 150 krona to the euro. Ordinary Icelanders are not allowed to switch money at the moment, and the black market exchange rate is about 350 krona to the euro right now.

The local tourism industry is taking advantage of Iceland’s dismal fate to advertise cheap trips to the island. “Impending national bankruptcy can be sexy” could easily be the new motto. “In a matter of days Iceland transformed into one of the cheapest tourist destinations in Europe,” said Clive Stacey, head of Discover the World, a travel agency that brings more than 8,000 tourists to the country each year. In the past, his clientele tended to be a higher brow group of tourists who were willing to spend that little extra something for a vacation that was a little more exotic.

I’ve often thought that prime US tourist destinations will become increasingly popular for the same reasons. And that tourism could potentially save certain parts of the country.

Meanwhile, I am seriously thinking about booking a trip to Iceland.

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  • Very interesting. I never even considered Iceland to be a vacation spot, let alone an expensive one. It does seem kind of grim, however, to be receiving enjoyment of a cheap vacation to Iceland @ the expense of their economic crisis.

  • A handy tip for anyone going to Iceland: I just came back from a week in Iceland and used the excellent Norden Voyager card to save quite a bit on my trip. It gets you discounts off many of the shops, bars and restaurants in the centre of Reykjavik. I used it when I booked my hotel and straight away saved more than the card cost to buy. Their website is nordenvoyager.com or I think you can buy it at a few places in Reykjavik.