The long-contested and controversial “Nature Pass” has died in parliament, of natural causes.
Vísir reports that the bill will not be passed through the Industrial Affairs Committee. Instead, Minister of Industry Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir will propose other ways in which revenue can be generated to keep up with costs incurred by increasing tourist traffic.
When asked what other options the minister is exploring, committee chairperson Jón Gunnarsson told reporters that “anything is possible in parliament”, but would not specify what will replace the Nature Pass idea, other than that “some kind of fee” will probably be instated.
The Nature Pass, as designed, would have cost 1,500 ISK per person, giving purchasers access to Icelandic natural sites that would have normally been free. Revenue would have gone to the care and upkeep of these sites, as the annual number of tourists has already exceeded one million people.
Fraught with controversy from the start, the Nature Pass was met with criticism and opposition from the political left and right alike. The lack of clarity of implementation and where funds would go only fuelled the criticism, with even the Industrial Affairs Committee chairperson saying that it was unlikely the bill would pass as written.
Where extra revenue will come from to meet the demands of increased foot traffic remains to be seen, but will likely not be introduced until this fall.