From Iceland — Tourist Safety Discussed In Parliament

Tourist Safety Discussed In Parliament

Published February 17, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Gylfi Blöndal

Members of parliament got into a heated discussion on the subject of tourist safety at locations around the country, and improvements that need to be made.

Many members of parliament pointed out that instances of tourists endangering, injuring, or even dying at locations around the country are not always due to deliberate recklessness. In many instances, these spots lack adequate visual warnings of danger, despite the dangers of these places being known about for years.

“The danger at Reynisfjara has been clear to everyone for a long time now, as six people have died there in a few short years,” Social Democrat MP Ólína Kjerúlf Þorvarðardóttir told parliament. “The danger at Sólheimajökull has also been known to everyone, as a young man died there a few years ago. Diving accidents have been pointed out at Silfra, and people die there. People are cavorting on the ice at Jökulsárlón. All this is clear, and has been clear for a long time now.”

Despite these warning signs, she said, and calls from workers within the tourism industry to improve conditions at some of these locations, no action has yet been taken.

“Why haven’t we gotten started working on the most dangerous tourist spots a long time ago?,” she asked. “Why do we need to wait for some overall risk assessment when the great danger at certain places is utterly crystal clear?”

Minister of Tourism Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir is working on a bill on the safety improvements of tourist spots around the country, which is expected to be submitted to parliament at the end of this month.

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