Tourists in Iceland who rent vehicles that are subsequently damaged by the weather could end up footing the bill for repairs.
Extraordinarily high winds have rocked Iceland over the past few days, reaching speeds of up to 40 m/s in the east and south of the country. Vísir reports that this could, unfortunately, translate into millions of krónur in damages to rental vehicles that those who rent them could be responsible for paying.
Bergþór Karlsson, the chairperson of the Rental Vehicles Committee of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, told reporters, that damage done to rented vehicles has included windows blown out by the wind. “And if the windows go, then so does the paint and the lights, too,” he said. “The total damages can add up to a terribly high amount, tens of millions [of krónur]. And unfortunately, tourists will ultimately bear responsibility for the damages.”
Ármann Guðmundsson, of the rescue squad Kári, does not necessarily agree. He points out that signs warning of road closings and dangerous weather are more often than not in Icelandic. When recalling a rescue he made of some French tourists recently, he said that they had no way of knowing the road had been blocked. “It just said ‘ófært’ (‘impassable’) on the sign [along the road they traveled],” he said. “I doubt that tourists would be able to understand that.”
G. Pétur Matthíasson, spokesperson for The Icelandic Road Administration, admitted that there were no easy answers. “Access to information can break down in extreme circumstances,” he said. “There are some ideas out there, and we’re taking the problem into consideration.”