From the Telegraph:
It’s described by the UN as the third best place to live in the world and the vagaries of economics make it more accessible than ever before to visitors and, their inevitable corollary, émigrés.
Sigga Groa Thorarinsdottir, marketing manager of UK and Ireland for the Icelandic Tourist Board, claims that the lower value of the krona has led to interest from Britons wishing to visit and settle in the previously expensive country.
According to statistics released by the board, Iceland experienced its highest ever visitor numbers in January and February this year. In January, 4,312 Britons visited the country compared with 3,865 for the same month in 2009. In February, there was a further rise of 25.6 per cent from February 2009, with an increase to 6,116 visitors. Overall in 2009 Iceland had more than 61,619 British visitors.
Thorarinsdottir said: “Despite the economic downturn, Iceland continues to be a popular destination for British holidaymakers all year round. Iceland still has an advantageous exchange rate compared with the euro, which means there has never been a better time for people to visit Iceland with UK travellers’ spending money going a lot further.”
“2009 was a challenging year for Iceland but these figures are very encouraging.”
Iceland, which has a population of only around 323,000 people, has been in a state of economic collapse since 2008. The world recession meant that Icelandic banks, which owed around six times the country’s total gross domestic product, were unable to refinance their loans. In the past year, the cost of food and house prices have risen precipitously, while the value of the krona has fallen to record lows. Many British investors, attracted by the high interest rates offered by Icelandic banks, lost money in the collapse, and on the 6th March, Icelanders voted not to repay the UK and Netherlands the £3.5 billion lost by British customers when online bank Icesave crashed.
[Read more at the Telegraph]