42% of Icelanders support allowing Chinese entrepreneur Huang Nubo to rent land in northeast Iceland, a new poll shows.
As reported, Huang Nubo has been interested in buying Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum, comprising about 30,639 hectares in northeast Iceland, for 1 billion ISK. His plans were to build a luxury hotel and golf course on the property. This sparked a public controversy, ultimately culminating in Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson denying permission to buy land, citing the fact that Icelandic law does not permit non-Scandinavians to purchase land.
Despite the rebuff, Huang Nubo remained determined to involve himself in Iceland’s tourist industry somehow. His efforts have paid off, as employment development groups from Eyjafjörður and Þingeyjarsýsla have advised municipalities of northern and eastern Iceland to create a shareholding company, buy a 70% share of the property at Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum, and then lease it to Huang Nubo over the next 40 years.
A new poll from Fréttablaðið and Stöð 2 now shows that 42% of respondents support the land leasing. 30.7% were against it, and 27.3% had no opinion either way.
The highest levels of support came from Social Democrats (54.2%), followed by conservatives, (50.5%), Leftist-Greens (50%) and then Progressives (49.1%)
Huang Nubo has already paid the full amount to lease the land in advance. The municipalities will form the shareholding company with their own money, and Huang Nubo also intends to invest about 20 billion ISK in the property, creating anywhere from 200 to 600 new jobs.