The Icelandic Tourist Board has expressed its concerns about the current large scale plans to construct hotels throughout the country, RÚV reports. Calling the trend a “goldrush,” the Board is urging Prospective hotel builders and owners to stop to assess the situation based on realistic assumptions and viable information. The number of hotels currently on the drawing board are not in line with reliable projections about tourism in the country. There will be 3000 new hotel rooms added to the current availability in the near future and in order to make these additional rooms a worthwhile investment Iceland would need to attract more than 1 million tourists annually, which exceeds all current projections for tourism growth. The annual usage of rooms in already existing guesthouses and hotels is less than 50%, even with tourism steadily increasing. Plans to build many hotels in central Reykjavík, in lots where older and sometimes historic buildings currently stand, have been controversial. When it was announced that much loved concert venue Nasa would be shuttered in favour of a hotel being built a petition was widely signed but failed to save the venue’s fate. Heart Garden, a popular public space sandwiched between Laugavegur and Hverfisgata that is plastered in colourful murals, and surrounding buildings will also be sacrificed in favour of cashing in on the tourism rush by way of erecting hotels. Related: Time and Tides and Hotels The Hotel Debate – Availability and Demand Where Has The Love Gone?
A 500 metre long ice cave is currently being tunnelled into Iceland’s Langjökull glacier. So far the crew have dug the cave’s entrance, roughly 200 metres into the glacier and are experimenting with how to light the tunnel. Plans are to turn the cave into a tourist destination where visitors can learn about glacial formations and potentially, even get married. “In the tunnel there’ll be a room,” said Sigurður Skarphéðinsson, CEO of the Ice Cave Iceland project. “We like to call it the multipurpose room and there, in cooperation with others, we’ll be able to offer people the chance to
Hardcore Icelandic Arsenal fan, Sigfríð Ingólfsdóttir, only ever wears Arsenal gear or Arsenal themed clothing, reports Vikudagur, except when she has to attend funerals. Sigfríð, 62, began following English football 30 years ago and first started supporting Arsenal after thinking the name of the team was pretty neat. She has since become one of Arsenal’s most dedicated fans in Iceland, has an “Arsenal Room” in her home, and is regularly stopped to discuss games. “I get stopped out on the street, people like to talk to me about Arsenal and football in general,” said Sigfríð. “Some of them are on
The MP5 submachine guns Iceland received from Norway will be sent back, the Icelandic Coast Guard has announced. According to the announcement, posted today on the Coast Guard’s website, the conclusion of talks with the Norwegian army yesterday and today led to the decision to return the guns, which have been held by toll authorities over the past few weeks. Customs officials held onto the guns on account of a dispute over whether the guns were a gift or a purchase. The Icelandic Coast Guard contends that “almost all the weapons in possession of the Icelandic Coast Guard (90%) have
Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, is expected to announce that she is stepping down today and will not return to parliament until the New Year, according to RÚV. Hanna Birna has been under a lot of scrutiny following the leak of incriminating and falsified information about Nigerion asylum seeker Tony Omos. She has maintained her innocence throughout the affair, even after her aide Gísli Freyr Valdórsson admitted to the leak. Despite the Independence party and PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson declaring their support of her, a lot of pressure has been on her to resign, including from the 1,000 people that
Vefpressan, the publishing company behind such websites as Pressan.is, Eyjan.is and Bleikt.is, has acquired 70% of newspaper DV’s stocks. This was announced this Friday morning. Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, once a member of Reykjavík city council on behalf of the Progressive Party, has been titled as DV’s publisher. This comes following turbulence among the owners and board of DV, which saw former editor Reynir Traustason discharged. Hallgrímur Thorsteinsson was hired as editor in his place. Björn Ingi has not revealed his intentions or plans regarding the purchase. Vefpressan’s news release merely explains that the publishing of DV has now been “secured”
Anxiety and antidepressants are prescribed 70% more often in Iceland than 10 years ago and Icelanders consume more antidepressants than any other OECD nation, reports RÚV. According to the Directorate of Health, in 2013 39,000 people were prescribed antidepressants and 34,000 people were prescribed sleeping aids at least once. The most commonly used sleeping pill in Iceland is Zopiclone. The Directorate of Health wrote that Zopiclone should not be used for longer than 2-4 weeks but that many Icelanders are getting prescriptions that last much longer than that, in some cases, even years.