When thinking of foreign investment opportunities, a small island nation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean may not necessarily be the first location that comes to mind, but the fact of the matter is that Iceland has quite a lot to offer.
Iceland’s economy is considered quite advanced and was, for example, ranked 23rd on the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom and operates within the European and Scandinavian regulatory framework and quality standards. Iceland’s relatively low corporate taxes and incentives for foreign direct investment provide evidence for this, with the current corporate tax rate at 20%, compared to the global average of 23.57%.
The country itself and its people are what truly set it apart. The country’s strategic location, midway between Europe and North America, has obvious benefits. As the demand for sustainable energy in the world increases, Iceland’s abundance of hydro and geothermal energy resources provide multiple opportunities for energy dependent industries looking for competitively priced green energy. The people of Iceland are known for their willingness to pursue innovation and for overcoming obstacles. Iceland maintains a highly skilled and educated workforce with a flexible labour market.
Iceland is currently in the midst of a tourism boom where the growth in tourist numbers has been steadily rising for the last few years, with a predicted increase of over 20% in 2014, resulting in close to one million annual visitors. Given this increasing growth, coupled with strong political and business support and the relatively short development of Iceland’s tourism industry, the opportunities are seemingly endless. Iceland’s location works to the industry’s benefit, along with the plethora of incomparable natural phenomena and Iceland’s strong cultural identity.
The tourism industry has so far been focused on a select few sites, which leaves many exciting locations and activities open for exploration. Iceland’s high tourist season is also getting longer and tourist visits are spread more evenly throughout the year, which in turn creates new seasonal opportunities for tourism operators. High-end services and accommodation are also in great demand, leaving potential investors with countless ways of meeting the demands of more affluent tourists who are looking for upscale services and accommodation. –VAG