The optimal tax theory haven that is Iceland

Tourists are expected to outnumber the local population of 330,000 by seven to one next year, according to official data. By comparison, last year visitors to France outnumbered the French by two to one

…The number of tourists has risen by as much as 30 percent every year for the last four years, according to Iceland’s Tourist Board. They brought in revenues of $3.2 billion in 2015, a third of the country’s export earnings. Tourism is the single biggest employer, and many Icelanders are pouring money into services and new construction.

…“It’s like the city is not my city anymore,” Birgitta Jonsdottir, the leader of the Pirate Party, complained last month. “It’s like Disneyland downtown.”

A poll in October conducted by the national broadcaster RUV reported that 87 percent of Icelanders want the government to raise fees or taxes on tourists.

Think of that as Iceland’s version of Trumpism.  Here is the full NYT story.


Trumpism? Not hardly. Ever lived in a tourist town?

@RPLong- yes, correct. In Greece there are 20M tourists a year (mostly in the summer) and they outnumber the 10M Greeks by 2:1. In the Philippines something like 3M tourists a year, and the are dwarfed by the 100M population. The figure of "two to one foreigners to tourists" for France is wrong. France has a population of 67M and they got 85M tourists ( ) so that's 1.3:1 ratio. File under lies, clickbait.

Washington DC, there are 20 million visitors a year and a population about 1/2 a million and even if you count the whole metro area the ratio is still 3 to 1

I'm okay with that so long as they stand on the right and walk on the left.

They don't.

Well, I like the tourists, but Brazilians are hospitable, generous and kind. We just can't help being this way.

Sure, unless you are a reporter. Then they will throw things at you, or even kill you with fireworks.

Such things rarely happen. Violence against the Press is exceedingly rare, the Fourth Estate has just depose a president and the House Speaker (or is it Speaker of the House, I never remeber which silly name your American masters use) and it is cornering the current president and the President of the Senate. Brazil enjoys complete and total freedom of press as opposed as American judicial persecution and jailing of dissidents.
And as bad as the recent incidents were, they are a lot better than the American father who killed his Brazilian children because... this is what Americans do. It is just a domestic Ferguson

The American regime is Cain's regime.

I think the press is at more risk of physical harm in trying to cover this new US administration.

LOL Jan, don't believe the press all the time. Trump isn't 'after' them. He just knows they are not trustworthy in general. But if you need, I hear some colleges offer their tender souls Play Doh to overcome their trauma. Actually, I think some playing in the safe spaces were instructors which says a lot for the future of this country. LOL

Probably smart to also not build your nations economy on tourism. Eventually you'll fade and the whole nation will face terrible issues.

Of course tourism would likely only gradually fall off, rather than suddenly crashing, like banking did for them and how oil has in other countries. Maybe they should go back to fishing?

That's more like a tourist town annoyed with the influx of tourists and wanting to take measures to limit flows while still making money from it.

It's not Trumpism unless they cut the taxes for the top 1%.

Let's Make Iceland Great Again.

In Iceland that would be 300 people, or perhaps 80 families.

Pardon me, 3000 and 800

The 1% who relentlessly campaigned against it, to boot.

LOL Bill, you do know Trump hasn't taken office yet to have done such a thing? Don't let Soros scare you so much.

In other news, Bob Combs, a 77-year-old pig farmer, is shutting down his farm ten miles north of the Las Vegas Strip. Since 1963, he has fed up to 5,000 hogs at a time with discarded food from casino buffets. The 154-acre farm is now surrounded by residential developments, whose residents have been complaining about the smell for the last twenty years. Combs' sons plan to start up a new operation twenty miles further north.

Wasn't the Icelandic Trump moment the election of the Pirate party?

Iceland could have it worse, I suppose: I have heard the city of Venice has 55,000 residents and ... 55,000 tourists a day.

Surely Trump's anti-immigration policy means no Americans allowed to immigrate anywhere, like Iceland.

Walls serve to keep people in just as much as keeping people out.

The Berlin Wall was anti-immigration. The iron curtain was anti-immigration. Trump's walls are likewise anti-immigration.

Now the irony is that Trump won the election because of the globalization he ran against. How would he have won is trade barriers had kept cell phones at about $2000? Without globalization, there would be no twitter. Criminals would be using Sina Weibo because there was no twitter on legal $2000 Motorola brick phones.

The Berlin Wall kept East Germans from leaving.

The Great Wall of Mexico would be designed to keep people out.

The Soviet Union lied about its wall. Trump lies about his wall but not about its purpose.

There is no pent up demand of Americans to move illegally to Mexico. There were lots of East Germans who wanted to escape Soviet tyranny.

'The Berlin Wall kept East Germans from leaving. '

From one perspective - according to the people that actually built and paid for the wall, it was an 'antifaschistischer Schutzwall' (anti-fascist protective barrier).

I wonder what the apparently still intended Muslim registry will be called - I'm sure that much like 'enhanced interrogation' is a translated term from German, that those in charge will have no problem finding a good German term to encompass what they intend.

Four years of bathing in the salty tears of mulp and his ilk.

This is going to be more fun than I thought.

I think you made another comment recently about liberal tears or something. You're laser focused--kudos! I'm enjoying the kleptocracy so far.

Mulp, surely you understand more of history and are just trying to misinform others and scare them. Don't let Soros scare you so much.

How many of these tourists are customers of WOW air ? The condition to get a cheap transatlantic air fare is to stop at the air carrier's convenience at Iceland.

As with immigration, the costs and benefits of tourism are not magically evenly distributed across a society.

With 300k pop, that's just over 2m tourists, most of whom are not interested in their cultural achievements, but go to the wilderness as soon as they can. France has 50m pop and 100m tourists...

Times Square is like Disneyland. Does that mean New Yorkers complain about tourists? Oh, they do. So there's nothing new here. Every big city has its tourist zone: no self-respecting resident of San Francisco would be seen dead at the tourist hell that is Fisherman's Wharf. Iceland just needs to get with the program.

But the developed parts of Iceland are really quite small, so it is much easier for tourists to seem to take over. In a country of 300,000 or so you can't just avoid the tourist zone. They are everywhere.

Iceland hosted large amounts of "tourists" for decades, only they were on tours of duty, rather than tours of pleasure. I'm pretty sure the U.S. troops deployed at Keflavik outnumbered the civilian population. But they had their own city, so it was less of a bother.

Iceland needs tourist to bring in export revenues so they can send 8% of their population abroad to support the national football team (an import)

I come from a tourist town (Québec, Québec, Canada).
It is sometimes impossible to walk in my chidhood neighborhoods dure to crowds..
A good chunk of Old Québec has been bought out by absentee owners. Local population has halved in the last twenty years and is dwindling ever faster as services close (no grocery stores for years and the last pharmacy just closed).
After that, the "charming city " will have disappeared and the tourists will flee leaving an empty shell.

That's an interesting process to watch; the tourist business hollows out and eventually erases the local feature that it was originally built on. Only the most robust attractions (Notre Dame, Grand Canyon) can survive it. Attractive town centers or districts with unique atmosphere have no chance.

Comments for this post are closed