University of Oulu

Sæþórsdóttir, Anna D.; Hall, C. M.; Wendt, Margrét. 2020. "Overtourism in Iceland: Fantasy or Reality?" Sustainability 12, no. 18: 7375.

Overtourism in Iceland : fantasy or reality?

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Author: Sæþórsdóttir, Anna Dóra1; Hall, C. Michael2,3,4; Wendt, Margrét1
Organizations: 1Department of Geography & Tourism, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
2Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
3Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University, Campus Helsingborg, 25108 Helsingborg, Sweden
4Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-26


Iceland has been one of the main destinations that have been incorporated into the discourse of overtourism. However, Iceland is different to many other supposed overtourism destinations in that its tourism is based on natural areas. Nevertheless, destination discourses can play an important part in influencing tourist decision-making and government and industry policy making. A media analysis was conducted of 507 online media articles on overtourism in Iceland that were published in 2018, with the main themes being identified via content analysis. The results indicated that the media discourse represented only a partial picture of overtourism and the crowding phenomenon in Iceland, with mechanisms to respond to crowding, the satisfaction level of tourists with their Icelandic nature experience, and local people’s support for tourism being underreported. Some of the findings reflect that of other media analyses. However, there are considerable discontinuities between media representations and discourses of overtourism in Iceland, which highlight the importance of national- or destination-level media analysis. The media analysis illustrates the need for a better understanding of different destination discourses and their influence.

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Series: Sustainability
ISSN: 2071-1050
ISSN-E: 2071-1050
ISSN-L: 2071-1050
Volume: 12
Issue: 18
Article number: 7375
DOI: 10.3390/su12187375
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (