Breaking Travel News
Breaking Travel News interview: Grímur Sæmundsen, chief executive, Blue Lagoon Iceland

Breaking Travel News interview: Grímur Sæmundsen, chief executive, Blue Lagoon Iceland

Iceland came to London last month, as the island destination continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and welcome returning guests.

Optimism is increasing in the market, with holidaymakers drawn by the stunning scenery, quirky capital, Reykjavik, and a strong cultural scene.

At the heart of it all is the Blue Lagoon.

No visit to Iceland would be complete without a stop at the famous geothermal lagoon, which has become something of an icon for the destination.

Founded in 1992, the Blue Lagoon is nestled in an 800-year-old lava field in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Geopark and is conveniently located between Reykjavik and the international airport.

It has long been popular with British travellers.

As Grímur Sæmundsen, chief executive of the Blue Lagoon, explains to Breaking Travel News: “This is a favourite destination for British visitors and the market remains a strong one for us.

“We are close to the capital of Iceland - Reykjavík - and visitors tend to not travel around the island of Iceland as much over the winter months, so our location is an advantage in that respect.

“As we come out of Covid-19 we are here to remind people in the UK that Iceland is just around the corner.

“It only takes three hours to fly to Iceland, with numerous flights a day, so the access remains strong for this market.”


Blue Lagoon is a sustainability-first company encompassing hotels, restaurants, research and development, renowned skincare and a place for wellbeing.

“We have been in the market for 30-years this year, and the Blue Lagoon has really become a world-famous destination.

“We continue to build new experiences at the Blue Lagoon for our guests, and we have invested heavily in a range of services and offerings,” continues Sæmundsen.

In 2018, the company continued its evolution, with the opening of the Retreat at Blue Lagoon the first, five-star, spa hotel in the country.

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon features a subterranean spa offering the signature Blue Lagoon Ritual and in-water massage.

There is also a mineral-rich, private lagoon and two new restaurants, including Moss, a Michelin-recommended destination.

“The Retreat is a luxury offering – the first of its kind in Iceland – and has proven to be very popular amongst travellers.”

He adds: “post-Covid-19 we have seen more luxury travellers in Iceland – the US dollar remains quite strong, which makes Iceland an attractive destination.”

Guests are also beginning to stay longer.

“Pre-Covid-19, guests would stay in Iceland for an average of four or five days, but this has now increased to seven or eight days, which is a really positive sign.

“The rebound in tourism has been stronger than anticipated – which has been a pleasant surprise for us,” Sæmundsen tells Breaking Travel News.

“We anticipate welcoming around 1.7 million visitors to Iceland this year, below the peak of 2.3 million in 2018.

“At the Blue Lagoon, we hope to welcome around 800,000 guests this year, potentially rising to one million in 2023.

“But the number is not what is important.

“We want to ensure that everybody who comes to the Blue Lagoon continues to have a unique, exceptional experience.

“Looking ahead to 2023, hoping that nothing catastrophic happens, we will be back over two million guests.

“We only have 370,000 inhabitants in Iceland, and the tourism industry is very important for us.

“With the current numbers and anticipated numbers, the prospects for our industry remain strong and the spirit is high.”

He concludes: “As we’ve reopened, we have seen an increasing number of guests from the United States.

“The UK market has remained strong as has the wider European market, Germany in particular.

“Traditionally, Iceland has been a must-visit destination for the Asian traveller, but due to the pandemic restrictions and complications, we have not seen that particular market come back yet.

“Having said that, we have not seen a dip in forward sales as of this moment.

“We have used the Covid-19 period to renovate and invest, so our guests have a lot to look forward to in the coming months and years with new experiences, better facilities, higher quality of service and a great experience – which is always unique.”

More Information

For more information on visiting the Blue Lagoon, head over to the official website.