Canadians flocking to Iceland, but Europeans are preferred

The economic collapse of Iceland has been covered extensively and zealously, so it’s no surprise that people are taking an interest. For Canadians, this makes even more sense, given their proximity to the country that has as many people as my neighborhood. At this time last year (when I went), just picking up dinner would cost you a fortune. Now, it’s almost half price … and that doesn’t include the great deals that are being offered.

Last year, more than 10,000 Canadians visited Iceland, effectively increasing the country’s population by 10 percent, even if only temporarily. That’s an increase of 68 percent from 2007.

Overall, Iceland welcomed just over 500,000 guests last year.

Like most travel deals, the unplanned currency-based discount won’t last forever. Like the weather up there, the economy is showing signs of thawing, thanks to a fiscal hand from the rest of the world.

For now, the 8,200-person travel industry is focusing on drawing guests from Europe. Hey, Canadians are great, but there aren’t as many of them as there are Europeans, and the small nation needs as much tourist cash as it can get. In 2008, 70,000 visitors came from the United Kingdom, followed by Germany with 45,100 and Denmark with 41,000.

Fortunately, Icelanders aren’t picky. They treated me well, and that was when the local currency was going strong.

If you go, take the walking tour. The guide predicted the fall of the Icelandic markets months ahead of time.