Iceland’s bourgeoning cruise industry: An economic opportunity or a local threat?

Jon Fridriksson, Nicholas Wise, Peter Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The cruise industry is the fastest growing component of mass tourism and is a key contributor to overtourism. The cruise industry is having a very significant impact on the country of Iceland, as cruises take people to some of the country’s most remote areas. In Iceland, the increase has been even more dramatic, with cruise ship arrivals increasing by over 91% (between 2015 and 2019) in Iceland’s small northern town of Akureyri and its surrounding ports. This paper is critical of the expansion of cruise tourism in Iceland despite the potential economic impacts of cruise ship tourism. Scholars argue the need to consider economic gains alongside environmental costs and social consequences that disrupt communities. This in perspective paper considers current economic, environmental and social impacts of cruise ship arrivals in Iceland before outlining some recommendations that align with environmentally friendly practices for policy makers to consider going forward. The triple bottom line framework is widely considered in tourism planning, and this paper seeks to connect the economic, social and environmental dimensions of tourism in a sustainable way to look at the present situation in Iceland and address policy considerations going forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Iceland
  • cruise tourism
  • local tourism policy
  • overtourism
  • triple bottom line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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