A record high number of tourists visited the Vatnajökull National Park last year, RÚV reports.
The vast increase in tourism to the glacier was particularly high during the winter season, leading for an increased demand for glacier guides and ice climbing excursions. This is good news for travel companies and tour operators that are trying to build up tourism in the region.
However a downside to this increase is that area guides are seeing more and more people come to visit the area with no guide and no proper equipment. Einar Torfi Finnsson, director of the Icelandic Mountain Guides, told RÚV that he has come across groups of tourists on the glacier without so much as a first aid kit.
Although glacier walking can be extremely dangerous, there are currently no regulations on the necessary accreditations of guides, nor the requirement for people to bring their own safety equipment. Such regulations could take 4-5 years to pass into law.