Iceland Has Seen a Massive Decline in Tourism Due to the Demise of WOW Air

From alternative college spring break trips to a feature on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Iceland had become a prime vacation spot for just about every type of traveler over the last several years—partly because of how cheap it was to fly there.

It looks like that era has come to an end, and Condé Nast Traveler reports that it’s largely due to the March collapse of WOW air, one of Iceland’s two airlines. Known for its bright purple planes and “Wow”-worthy prices, the airline offered roundtrip, nonstop flights from major U.S. and European cities sometimes for as little as $100. The deals drew millions of frugal adventurers to seek out Iceland’s attractions, causing a peak of 38 percent year-over-year tourist growth in 2016, as Visit Iceland told USA Today. Aviation journalist Seth Kaplan explained to Condé Nast Traveler that the small island nation simply couldn’t handle servicing millions of people across two airlines in its capital city Reykjavik, and WOW air’s business model wasn’t sustainable.

This year’s statistics illustrate just how quickly the tourism numbers are plummeting. According to data from Diio by Cirium, the number of scheduled airplane seats for the rest of 2019 is down a devastating 27.5 percent from last year. Though WOW air’s demise heavily contributed to the drop, things aren’t running smoothly for Iceland’s other airline, Icelandair, either: It owns nine Boeing 737 MAXs, which haven’t been flown since the model’s official worldwide grounding in March. As a result, Icelandair has had to fire 45 pilots.

And, contrary to what the media surrounding the bargain flight prices might’ve made you think, Iceland is not a cheap country. Hotels, food, and alcohol are all significantly more expensive than throughout Europe, and many tourists aren’t prepared for it. Condé Nast Traveler travel specialist Chris Gordon said it caused chaos across the usually very safe country. “People were breaking into churches to sleep in them,” he said. “People were rampantly using lawns as toilets, and pristine landscapes—Iceland’s greatest attraction—became famously strewn with toilet paper.”

Without WOW air ferrying hoards of ill-equipped vacationers into the country, prices will probably level out. “I would expect you will have more of an equilibrium, where the cheapest flights will be gone but with fewer people in the country, the cost of other things should be dropping,” Kaplan says.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

A Luxurious Private Island in Fiji Is Heading to Auction

Platinum Luxury Auctions
Platinum Luxury Auctions

There may be less expensive ways to get away from it all, but few are as luxurious as owning your own private island. Soon that dream will become a reality for someone with money to spend on real estate. According to Robb Report, Mai Island off the coast of Fiji is headed to auction.

Mai Island is the picture of isolation. To get there by boat, visitors must take a 90-minute trip from the neighboring island of Vanua Levu. The only other ways to access the island are by helicopter or seaplane.

The secluded location offers plenty to anyone willing to make the trek there. On the southwest side, there's a quarter-mile of sandy beach, and on the opposite end, there's a deep-water anchorage perfect for parking mega-yachts. The 32-acre island also features waterfalls, 300-year-old ruins, and a freshwater lake pristine enough to supply water to the mainland.

After a day of lounging by the ocean, residents can retreat to the cozy one-bedroom villa with its own spacious deck. There are also two separate cottages for any staff members on the island.

When Platinum Luxury Auctions sells Mai Island on Saturday, July 25, it will be one of the rare Fijian properties available for buyers residing outside the island chain to purchase outright. This auction doesn't list a minimum price, but it will likely garner some high bids. Recently, sellers listed the island at $4.2 million.

Villa on private island.

Private island in Fiji.

Beach on private island.

[h/t Robb Report]