The Impact of The COVID-19 Pandemic on The Icelandic Tourism Industry

Sigurður Hrannar Björnsson & Vilhjálmur Gunnar Arthúrsson

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


In 2020 a deadly Corona virus, named COVID-19, caused a world pandemic. The pandemic had a great economic impact globally and one of the industries highly affected was the tourism industry. This sort of sudden change in world safety is likely to enhance anxiety in individuals, specifically in this context, travel anxiety. This thesis explores how the Icelandic tourism industry can attract international travellers post COVID-19, what its strategy is regarding the crisis management theory and if emerging travel anxiety in individuals is a barrier for attracting international travellers post COVID-19. Six stakeholders were interviewed qualitatively, and the data was analysed with thematic analysis. The 14 themes identified were disruption of activities, opportunities for evolving new projects, maintaining infrastructure and relationships, provision of financial support, demand and interest is there, clear communication about how Iceland is a safe destination, good track record on how Iceland has handled COVID-19, safety on transportation to Iceland, low concern regarding travel anxiety, focus on things you can control, sustainability, fewer but longer trips, health orientation, decrease in business trips. A SWOT analysis was also conducted, and findings showed the strengths being nature, location, infrastructure, experience, high tourist satisfaction. The weaknesses being pricing, lack of high-end services, tourist congestion. The opportunities being sustainability, volcanic eruption at Fagradalsfjall, Iceland being the least densely populated county in Europe. The threats being competition, dependence on airlines, perception of over-tourism, decline in control of ownership, climate change. It was concluded that the efficient sharing of information and awareness creation concerning that Iceland is a safe destination to visit is one of the key measures for attracting travellers post COVID-19. Those measures must include information that Iceland is densely populated, strong service infrastructure in all regions, Iceland having handled the COVID-19 pandemic efficiently, and that Iceland should be favoured as a destination for sustainable tourism. Nature is Iceland’s main tourism motivator and a new opportunity has emerged with a recent volcanic eruption. Crisis management shows that Iceland is reactive in its measures. Findings showed that emerging travel anxiety is not considered a barrier when attracting international travellers post COVID-19. That conclusion is built on existing demand for travels to Iceland and insights from individuals within the industry. Service Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
Antal sider105
VejledereErik Braun