Tourist Industry Needs To Take Some Responsibility - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Tourist Industry Needs To Take Some Responsibility

Published March 24, 2015

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A member of Iceland’s Association for Search and Rescue (ICESAR) believes tourists are not solely to blame for needing to be rescued sometimes – the tourist industry itself has its own responsibility to bear.

While tourists ending up in dire situations and in need of rescue have popped up frequently in the news, it would be irresponsible to place the onus solely on them to stay safe, says the Project Manger of Tourist Accident Prevention for the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICESAR), MBL reports.

“There are often two sides to a story,” Jón­as Guðmunds­son told reporters. “We should take a good look at ourselves, too, and stop blaming others, though this does not excuse or justify [carelessness].”

Jónas points out that the number of tourists are steadily increasing, but educating and informing them on the dangers of some natural settings is not keeping up with those numbers. Some places need better hand rails and warning signs, he says, while some places – such as certain glaciers – should be completely blocked from access during particularly dangerous times of the year, such as the spring thaw.

At the same time, Jónas says there is a lot of positive action being taken, too, pointing out that local authorities see the safety of tourists as a high priority in the industry.

“We can feel how much tourism has increased in recent years,” he said. “We are doing a lot, but we need to do a lot more.”

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