Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Iceland Readies for Volcanic Eruption: Latest Tourism Updates

3 months ago

Tourists won’t be allowed to relax in Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon for the quite some time. A volcano near the geothermal spa is very likely to erupt soon, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office

Residents of the nearby seaside town of Grindavik have been evacuated. Roads have been closed. There have been around 900 earthquakes recorded in the area since midnight on Monday. Grindavik is located 26 miles away from Reykjavik.

When or where the eruption will happen is uncertain. The location and size of the eruption will determine what the impact on flight traffic will be, according to Visit Iceland.

Blue Lagoon is closed until December 7. The spa has been closed since November 9. “We’re constantly reassessing the situation in accordance with the local authorities,” said a Blue Lagoon spokesperson.

Most tourist attractions remain open. The Golden Circle, the South Coast and the Northern Lights have not been affected and remain open. Tour operators Intrepid Travel, Jacada Travel and Kensington Tours are monitoring the situation and haven’t cut their trips to Iceland.

No flights have been canceled or suspended. All airlines are operating on schedule, according to Visit Iceland. There has been no impact to the Keflavik Airport, according to the U.S. Embassy in Iceland.

UK issued a travel warning. On November 11, the UK advised its nationals to monitor local media for updates and follow the advice of local authorities on travel to the area.

The Reykjanes Peninsula has experienced three eruptions in the last two years.

In 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano experienced an eruption that disrupted over 90,000 flights.

Tourism

Iceland Tourism Could Feel Impact From Labor Unrest

1 year ago

Industrial actions are likely to disrupt gasoline supplies and hospitality services in Iceland’s capital region, impacting the tourism industry. Travelers may need to think of backup plans for their accommodations and transportation routes.

The Efling union, one of the largest labor unions in the country representing workers in and around the city of Reykjavik, has been planning to strike after its members voted on the subject matter earlier in February.

Disrupted hotel services in the capital city will affect Iceland’s key tourism industry, which makes up 39 percent of its total export revenue. Tourism is one of Iceland’s most dependable money-making sectors and made up 15.7 percent of its total workforce in 2017.

“Our demand is for a fair wage agreement that takes into account the circumstances and composition of our members,” said Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, the chair of Efling, in a union statement. “I encourage negotiating parties to strike an agreement with us.”

Almost 700 Efling union members in hotel services went on strike last week at seven Íslandshotel locations. Three more strike notices were put up for votes by the negotiating committee of the Efling union on Sunday, February 12. An additional 1,700 Efling members are anticipated to strike before the end of the month if the vote is approved, which includes hotel employees at Centerhotels and Keahótels.

Seventy oil truckers went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday. More will follow should the Efling union fail to reach an agreement with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA). Gas stations can run into supply shortages as soon as Thursday evening, possibly delaying travel plans and tourism recovery.

“This is a matter of concern because Iceland is dependent on oil, and it is quite clear that this will hit us pretty hard if it happens,” Þórður Guðjónsson, CEO of Shell’s official reseller in Iceland told the local media.

Some essential services, such as the police, ambulances, hospitals and search-and-rescue teams, are observed to be exempted from union actions.

“In the coming days, society will feel the effects of strikes in a tangible way,” Þórbergsson said to local media. “I predict that either side of the weekend, most of our daily lives will be paralysed.” 

Iceland Targets Space Tourists With New Campaign

1 year ago

Visit Iceland launched a new campaign to attract space tourists on Tuesday. Called “Mission Iceland,” the campaign kicked off on November 16 with the launch of a billboard into space with the message: “Iceland. Better than Space.”

The campaign targets the space tourist segment and encourages them to see Iceland an alternative destination to travel. Visit Iceland didn’t name any companies, but it cited the ongoing delays for space travel. Virgin Galactic announced in August that it had to delay its first space tourist mission trip to the second quarter of 2023 due to needed ship enhancements.

“We know there is likely frustration amongst aspiring space travelers who have had their trips delayed and don’t yet know when they will make it to outer space,” said Visit Iceland Head Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir. “That is why we are encouraging them to take a trip much closer to home instead and for a fraction of the price, and the carbon footprint.”