Too Many Tourists, Says MP

Published October 11, 2012

A member of parliament has argued that there are already too many tourists in Iceland, preventing Icelanders from getting seats at cafés and “disturbing” the experience of visiting Gullfoss and Geysir.
Tourism is a growing industry in Iceland. Over 600,000 tourists visited the country last year, and that number is expected to rise. Páll Asgeir Ásgeirsson, the chairman of the Iceland Touring Association, told radio station Rás 2 last year that he believes the time has come to place surcharges or entrance fees on some of Iceland’s more popular settings of natural beauty, such places as Þingvellir, Landmannalaugar, and Vatnajökull. Such charges would help fund the maintenance and upkeep of these places as foot traffic grows.
Þór Saari, an MP for The Movement, spoke on the radio show Reykjavík Síðdegis yesterday, expressing his concerns over what he sees as an overabundance of tourists in Iceland already. Þór contends that the tourist industry’s plans to continuously increase the number of visitors to Iceland will not work, as the country is too small to accommodate them all.
“Icelanders who go downtown to their cafés, which they’ve maybe done for years, can’t get in because they’re all full of tourists,” he said. “Tourism robs us of the environment that we live in and grew up in. We can’t go to Þingvellir anymore and enjoy standing on a ridge looking at the scenery. We can’t go to Gullfoss and Geysir anymore and enjoy it because there are thousands of foreigners there, disturbing you in your own country.”
Þór compared today’s tourist industry to the way heavy industry was once handled in the past – Iceland putting all its economic hopes into one field, and overloading it. He added that other members of parliament agreed with him, although he did not mention who they were.
“There is the sentiment among members of parliament that there are too many tourists and we need to do something about it,” he said, but claimed many were afraid of going up against the tourist industry. Amongst themselves, he claims, MPs do believe there are too many tourists, but they do not know what, exactly, to do about it.



News
Russian Bombers In Close Proximity To Icelandic Passenger Jet

Russian Bombers In Close Proximity To Icelandic Passenger Jet

by

Two unidentified Russian bomber airplanes, probably Tupolev Tu-22Ms, flew directly under an Icelandic passenger jet traveling from Keflavik to Stockholm

News
Intense Northern Lights Over Reykjavík Captured On Film

Intense Northern Lights Over Reykjavík Captured On Film

by

Some stunning northern lights put on quite a show over Reykjavík last night. Our Facebook feed was full of brave

News
“The Icelandic People Are My Hope Now” – Afghan Mother & Daughter Still In Peril

“The Icelandic People Are My Hope Now” – Afghan Mother & Daughter Still In Peril

by

A group of Icelanders arrived at the Ministry of the Interior today to hand over a petition of some 3,300

News
Pirates And Conservatives Neck-And-Neck

Pirates And Conservatives Neck-And-Neck

by

The latest poll from Market and Media Research shows the two parties at a statistical tie, and it is still

News
The Cave Tamer

The Cave Tamer

by

Raufarhólshellir, the third largest lava tunnel in Iceland, is easily accessible from Reykjavík: after a 35km drive, it’s simple to

News
Man Dies Fearing His Insurance Company Would Drop Coverage

Man Dies Fearing His Insurance Company Would Drop Coverage

by

A British man who died from injuries sustained from falling from a horse in Iceland did not disclose to medical

Show Me More!