Dynamic strategies in a tourism growth industry
|Session Name||2.5 Arctic tourism development: Prospects and challenges?|
|Author(s)||Helgi Kristíinarson Gestsson (University of Akureyri, Iceland), Ogmundur Haukur Knutsson (University of Akureyri, Iceland), Jon Gestur Helgason (University of Akureyri, Iceland), Svein Tvedt Johansen (UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet, Norway), Markku Vieru (University of Oulu, Finland)|
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis Icelandic companies were hit hard. The country´s economy crumbled, the currency fell by around 45%. Companies´ debt skyrocketed leaving most companies technically bankrupt. Access to finance was difficult, it would take over three years for the banks to sort out companies not to be declared bankrupt.
The exchange rate led to boosted exports and demand for domestic production and with the Eyjafjallajokull eruption this created a surge in tourism. Number of foreign visitors rose from 470.000 in 2010 to 1.8 million in 2016 and overnight stay from 2.1 million to 6.8 million nights. Revenues of foreign travellers increased from 163 billion ISK in 2010 to 503 billion in 2017, more than double that of each of the two former major pillars of Iceland´s export of goods and services.
For Icelandic companies this has also created opportunities, not least for the Micro enterprises that make up 87,5% of wage paying companies in Iceland. This research concentrates on Micro enterprises in business in 2010 in the Eyjafjordur area of Northern Iceland, their development, strategies and actions taking advantage of their opportunities and dealing with their treats in this explosive tourism environment.
A mixed method research is used, based on primary and secondary data. It is partly based on the authors´ former research on northern SME´s and partly on primary data from a survey and semi-structured interviews with owners/managers of Micro enterprises in the Eyjafjordur area.
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