How did Iceland become a top destination for Chinese travelers?
I am sure you heard about Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon or the unpronounceable volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which went into eruption in 2010. But it is not only about that, Iceland is home of the largest glaciers in Europe. It is so-called the land of Fire and Ice, holding incredible glaciers, geysers, volcanos, mountains, fields, hot springs, and waterfalls. It is the island of adventure and nature.
Iceland is an island in the Atlantic ocean between Greenland and Northern Europe. It is populated by a bit more than 330,000 inhabitants and half of them live in Reykjavik, the capital city. And the funny fact is that there are actually more whales (350,000) than inhabitants.
It is also called the land of light and darkness. Why? Because it is located right below the Arctic Circle, almost 24-hours of sunlight punctuates long summer days whereas winter days provide very short daylight. This darkness is sublimated by Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Activities such as Hiking, Caving, Ice Climbing, Diving, Whale and Northern Lights watching, attract a lot of travelers, reaching around 1.8million of them in 2016. (Source : Icelandic Tourist Board)
Among them, we count 70,000 Chinese visitors and this number keeps on increasing year-by-year. As a growing number of Chinese travelers seek out “exotic” destinations and new experiences, Iceland became a top traveling destination and this is just the beginning.
Iceland is facing an increase of 660% of Chinese tourists since five years, all of this without having direct flights between the two countries. However, the first one should be operated by Icelandair in 2018. This initiative is expected to largely increase and attract the curiosity of the new generation of Chinese travelers.
This new kind of travelers are not willing to travel in groups anymore and « cost » is far less important than the « experience ». This fresh generation represents 74 million of FIT (Free Independent Travelers) and more than half of them are seeking for unique experiences and breathtaking scenes of a given destination. It became their primary factor to consider while traveling overseas. (Source : Curiosity China ; Nielsen’s 2017 Report)
Considering the rise of Chinese travelers and knowing that 65% of them use mobile payment platforms while traveling overseas, it will not be surprising to see WeChat and Alipay being implemented in Iceland in the coming years.
Iceland tourism industry should be observed very closely and could become a main touristic destination for this new generation of Chinese travelers, looking for UNIQUE experiences.
Meanwhile, I invite you to watch this short clip presenting Iceland which I hope, will give you enough desire to visit this amazing island.
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