Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

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  • Economy

    Tourism generated 8.1% of GDP in 2016, up from 3.4% in 2010

    By Staff

    Rapid growth Tourism as a share of the GDP of Iceland 2009-2016. Image/Statistics Iceland

    Since taking off in 2010 tourism has more than doubled its share of the Icelandic economy. According to the latest revised figures from Statistics Iceland tourism generated 3.4% of Iceland's GDP in 2010, the last year before the industry took off. In 2016, the most recent figures provided by Statistics Iceland, tourism generated 8.1% of Iceland's GDP. Previous estimates had put the share somewhat higher, at 8.4%.

    Tourism has grown in importance since the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. In 2014 tourism amounted to 5.2% of GDP and 6.2% in 2015. Unofficial estimates for 2017 suggest tourism generated some 10% of GDP that year. Statistics Iceland will release its preliminary figures for 2017 on July 20.

    In total there were 2,146,273 inbound foreign visits to Iceland in 2016, an increase of 35.2% from 2015. The largest increase was in the number of overnight visits or 39%, while same day visits, typically by cruise line passengers, increased by 18.9% year over year. The increase in the number of overnight stays at hotels was 21.6% which is a considerably less increase than in the number of visits. The difference can be explained by a variety of factors. The largest being that each traveler in 2016 spent less time than in 2015. An increase in the use of unregistered accommodation, RVs and camper vans is a second possible explanation.

  • Nature

    Photos: A rare double rainbow created by the Midnight Sun over Reykjavík

    By Staff

    Double midnight rainbow Iceland should be called the "Country of Rainbows". Photo/KÓ-Vísir

    One of the very best things about Iceland is the light. In winter it's the Northern Lights which dance across the sky, providing color and light to the long winter nights. In summer it's the midnight sun and the truly spectacular sunsets/sunrises that we get when the sun crawls toward the horizon, only to rise up again.

    Tuesday saw one of those truly magical evenings as the sunset managed to create a rare midnight rainbow. The reddish midnight sun gave the rainbow an added pink hue. Some people were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a second rainbow: A midnight rainbow is magical enough, a double midnight rainbow is something else! Yesterday people took to social media to share photos of the spectacular sight. You can see some of the images below.

    This isn't the first time we have run stories about magical and unusual rainbows. Lunar rainbows and double lunar rainbows, "moonbows", are another rare sight you might catch if you are lucky!

    Read more: Amazing Aurora and a rare double lunar rainbow over S. Iceland yesterday evening






    Most epic #rainbow ever #bifröst #regnbogi #iceland w/ @disa38 #nofilter

    A post shared by (@cinecycle) on Jun 19, 2018 at 5:13pm PDT




    Alveg kúl sko

    — jói b (@joibjarna) June 20, 2018




    Tvöfaldur regnbogi á miðnætti. #doublerainbow #midnight #iceland #solstice

    — Kristinn Johnson (@KristinnJohnson) June 20, 2018




    Ótrúlega kúl regnbogi núna - skærir litir og mjög hár bogi

    — Maria Gunnarsdottir (@mariakgun) June 19, 2018





    — bolli (@ill_ob) June 19, 2018




    hvað er að fokkin gerast

    — bolli (@ill_ob) June 19, 2018



  • Sports

    Photo of the Day: Even the puffins have caught the football fever!

    By Staff

    National treasures Heimir Hallgrímsson seen holding another Vestmannaeyjar resident. Photo/Sæheimar

    Heimir Hallgrímsson, the manager of the Icelandic football team is a born-and-bred "Islander" (eyjamaður), which in Iceland is usually used to refer to people from the Vestmannaeyjar islands, a cluster of volcanic islands on the south coast of the Icelandic "mainland". In addition to coaching football and managing the Icelandic national team, Heimir is a dentist: He still works at his clinic in Vestmannaeyjar.

    Read more: Great news: 2018 looks like a good year for the puffin population in S. Iceland

    It should therefore not come as a surprise that Heimir is loved and admired by other townspeople. Heimir is not only a pillar of the community, he's a national treasure. Even the puffins (nearly half of the Icelandic puffin population nests in Vestmannaeyjar) stand by this local hero, doing their best to do the famous "Viking War Cry": HÚH!

    Read more: Slideshow: The Pysja Patrols and the kids who rescued nearly 5000 pufflings this summer

    The above photo was shared by Sæheimar Aquarium in Vestmananeyjar, whose staff nurse injured or sick puffins back to health. And make tiny little puffin sized football jerseys!

  • Travel

    Iceland most expensive country in Europe: Consumer prices 66% above the European average

    By Staff

    At least the Northern Lights are free! Also - nobody comes to Iceland for the cheap booze anyway! Photo/Vilhelm

    It doesn't take long for freign visitors to discover Iceland is a bit pricey: Everything, from the gas at the pump, the drinks at the bar and the food at the restaurant to groceries is more expensive than what most people are used to paying. In fact, consumer prices in Iceland are on average 66% higher than in Europe.

    Read more: Reykjavík world's 14th most expensive city, slightly more affordable than New York

    Data from Statistics Iceland and Eurostat reveal that the price level index for household consumption expenditure is 166 (EU29=100). The second most expensive European country is Switzerland, where the price level is 59% above the European average, followed by Norway and Denmark, where prices are 42-43% higher.

    The data reveals that food and non-alcoholic beverages are on average 56% more expensive than in Europe. Food is even more expensive in Switzerland (68% above the European average) and Norway (61%). Iceland takes the first spot when it comes to Alcoholic bevarges and tobacco, which is 128% more expensive than the European average, closely followed by Norway where smoking and drinking is 126% more expensive than the average.

    Read more: Nobody comes to Iceland for the cheap booze: Beer in Reykjavík 2nd most expensive in Europe

    Restaurants and hotels in Iceland are also the most expensive in Europe, 86% above the average. The cheapest European countries are the Balkan nations. Consumer prices in Macedonia are on average only a fourth of what they are in Iceland. However, GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power in Iceland is also more than four times that of Macedonia, according to the World Bank.

  • Birds

    Group of foreign travelers rescue lost parrot in Húsavík, N. Iceland: Owner overjoyed

    By Staff

    The fancy cage The Police in NE Iceland moved the parrot to a proper bird cage. Photo/Police in NE Iceland

    Friendly parrots are not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the birdlife along the Icelandic seaside. Which is why a group of foreign travelers were surprised to be greeted by a friendly little parrot at the Húsavík harbor in North Iceland. Surrounded by seagulls, the parrot seemed a bit lost and out of place.

    According to the Police in Northeast Iceland the people were walking in the harbor area when the parrot flew to them and sat down on the shoulder of one of the people. The group decided they had to do the right thing and help the parrot get to his home. The people used a cardboard box to construct a cage, cutting out a hole for a plastic cup to create a kind of window or transparent viewing deck to ensure the bird didn't feel too claustrophobic while being taken to the Police station in Akureyri.

    Read more: News of daring rescue of a cat by Police, Fire Dept a wonderful reminder of peacefulness of Iceland

    The Akureyri Police was quick to find the owner of the bird. Shortly after posting a photo of the parrot on social media the bird's owner had contacted the Police. 

    The local newspaper Morgunblaðið reports that the lost parrot was one of the most urgent cases on the desk of the Akureyri Police yesterday.

    "This has been a very slow for the Akureyri Police, so the officers on duty have had plenty of time to secure birdseeds and other necessities for the feathered inmate."

  • Birds

    Great news: 2018 looks like a good year for the puffin population in S. Iceland

    By Staff

    More puffins The puffin colonies in S Iceland are perking up! Photo/Heiða

    There are more occupied nests in puffin burrows in South Iceland this year than in recent years, raising hopes that 2018 will be a good year for the important puffin colonies in the southern part of the country. These colonies have been in decline for years, due to changing climate conditions and changes in the ocean around Iceland.

    Read more: Slideshow: The Pysja Patrols and the kids who rescued nearly 5000 pufflings this summer

    The status of individual puffin colonies has been monitored for decades, but a systematic monitoring of all puffin burrows in Iceland only began in 2010. The count revealed that the puffins of Vestmannaeyjar islands are doing very well. Vestmannaeyjar is a cluster of volcanic islands on the south coast of Iceland and home the largest puffin colonies in the world. This year 65% of all the puffin burrows in the islands are occupied, a significant increase since last year when only 55% of burrows were occupied. The rate of burrow occupancy has never topped 74%.

    Erpur Snær Hansen, the head of the South Iceland Nature Research Center, told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that the results were very positive, as the puffin colonies in the south have been showing signs of decline for years. Puffin colonies in East and North East Iceland are all stable, according to the study. However, Erpur cautions against too much optimism, as colonies in West and North West show signs of decline.

    While the Vestmannaeyjar colony is the largest in Iceland three most densely populated colonies are in West Iceland. Two of the most densely populated puffin colonies in Iceland in 2017 (measured by the occupancy ratio of the burrows) were found off the coast of Reykjavík. 86% of all burrows on Akurey island were occupied, with 90% of nesting having been successful. Lundey island, a second major puffin colony off the coast of Reykjavík had a 81% occupancy ratio, also with 90% success ratio.

    Read more: Unique puffin colony on one of the islands off the coast of Reykjavík to be protected

    The second most densely populated puffin colony in Iceland, according to the summary figures published by the South Iceland Nature Research Center for the 2017 count was Vigur island in Ísafjarðardjúp bay in the Westfjords also shows a very high occupancy ratio of 83%. 

    Read more: Iceland's most picturesque island is up for sale: Vigur island in the Westfjords could be yours

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