Increasing numbers of travellers are pouring into Iceland. Tourism already generates a third of Iceland’s export receipts. However: since the economic crisis of 2008, the infrastructure has not grown anywhere near as fast as the number of visitors. If you count the number of overnight stays, on average there are almost 30,000 tourists in the country every day. "It’s quite busy for only 337,000 inhabitants," says Birgir Smárason. The 38-year old is one of about 20 drivers who are employed by ÍSTAK.
The company is located in Mosfellsbær, about 15 kilometres north of the capital Reykjavik, and is one of Iceland’s largest construction companies. In the main, ÍSTAK and its 330 employees are involved in large-scale projects financed by the state: schools, hospitals, power stations, ports, tunnels, roads and bridges. "Our buildings shape life on the island," says Birgir proudly. Amongst other things, ÍSTAK built the international Leifur Eiríksson terminal at the airport in Keflavik and renovated the Hallgrímskirkja, the country’s largest and most famous church, as well as the parliament building in the capital, Reykjavik.