From Iceland — MPs Debate "Nature Pass" Idea

MPs Debate “Nature Pass” Idea

Published September 26, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Grapevine Archives

Members of parliament have still not arrived at a definitive conclusion on whether or not to initiate a “nature pass” for tourists.

Vísir reports that yesterday members of parliament discussed the Ministry of Industry’s “nature pass”, an all-inclusive pass to visit many of Iceland’s sites of natural wonder. Directed at tourists, the revenue from the nature pass is expected to go to the care and upkeep of these natural sites, which have seen an ever-increasing number of visitors every year.

Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir said that while she believes the increase in tourism has been good for Iceland, it is still uncertain how much revenue the Icelandic government receives from tourism, directly or indirectly. She added that it was necessary to ensure that Icelanders would continue to be able to visit their country’s natural sites free of charge.

Independence Party MP Jón Gunnarsson pointed out that, despite the nature pass idea being discussed for months now, “there still has been no concordance reached in this matter, so we obviously need to find a simpler way” to generate the revenue.

Katrín Júlíusdóttir, an MP for the Social Democrats, took the opportunity to point out the contradiction between how the parties of the ruling coalition are responding to the nature pass idea now, and how they responded when the Social Democrats suggested it during the previous government.

“We faced hard opposition during the previous election term,” she said. “But it won’t be like that this time, at least not where the Social Democrats are concerned.”

Bright Future MP Óttar Proppe stated that increased tourism has a significant impact on nature.

“It is very important that we achieve a multipartisan discussion and most of all multipartisan agreement on how to build up tourism within a viable and sustainable framework,” he said. “Both so [tourism] can grow, and so it doesn’t negatively affect the countryside.”

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