In 2008, Iceland was hit by the global financial crisis and experienced its worst economic crash in history. Just two years later, the country witnessed a series of volcanic eruptions that stunted air travel and their tourism industry, reducing the number of passengers flying into Iceland's airports by about 30 percent.
That's when Iceland's Tourism Board stepped in and kicked off its biggest foreign advertising campaign ever, producing promotional videos showing off Iceland's beautiful art, food and iconic landscapes. The country's two major airlines, Icelandair and WOW air, started offering budget flights, cutting prices in half, some to as low as $99 each way.
As risky as it was, the tourism board's big gamble paid off. Today, around 27 percent of Iceland's 16 billion dollar GDP is a direct result of the tourism industry. But there are some drawbacks that come with tourism, including gentrification and displacement of locals. Can other countries facing economic collapse learn something from Iceland? Or are the risks too great?
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The New York Times: Secret to Iceland's Tourism Boom? A Financial Crash and a Volcanic Eruption