Don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the global economic recession hit Iceland first and, perhaps, hardest. A nation the size of Manhattan below Duane Street, Iceland reached new economic highs as foreign money flowed into their banks and foreign tourists flowed into their bars and hotels in the mid aughts. But the cash, like many of the tourists and many of Iceland’s banks, is all gone now and this (former) Mecca for music-loving travelers is looking to a new discount airline scheme to bring the country back from financial disaster.
Just a few years ago, visitors from all over the world came to Iceland to enjoy its musical festivals, unique landscape, volcanically heated lagoons, and the wild, artistic spirit of its people. It was a heady time that birthed luxury hotels, $12 dollar lagers, and a new hedonistic attitude the country had never experienced (legal beer was still a bit of a novelty then). That was before overseas investors pulled their money out of Icelands’s overvalued financial institutions (many of which closed) locals began paying foreigners to take over their car leases, and the vital tourist industry had to go into an unlit room and sulk a bit.
Now Iceland Express, a discount travel line, is angling bring a new influx of bargain-seeking tourists to their shores. With 34 flights new flights into Iceland every week and prices that are more than competitive with the locally leading carrier, Icelandair. What? Do 34 new discount flights to Iceland’s crazy people, crazy landscape, and crazy culture seem small to you? Um, that’s 20,400 more tourists on an island of only 305,000 people, which is kind of a big deal. In other good Iceland-related news, the market crash has brought the price of a beer down from $12 to $8. The hits just keep on coming.
Image via Iceland Express.