From Iceland — Mayor, Tourism Minister Lock Horns

Mayor, Tourism Minister Lock Horns

Published April 3, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

While the Mayor of Reykjavík has called for the government to step up its game, the Tourism Minister assures that they are “on it”.

RÚV reports that Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson believes that the Icelandic government is not doing enough where tourism is concerned – in particular, that the state is not doing enough to generate more revenue from the steadily increasing stream of tourists to the country.

To that end, he announced yesterday that this Tuesday he will call for the newly-formed Tourism Centre to allow, without delay, for municipalities around the country to begin adding tourist revenue to their coffers. Dagur believes the best way to achieve this would be to raise the accommodation tax, and have a portion of this go directly to the municipalities. This method, he said, is relatively painless to all parties involved, and has precedent the world over.

Minister of Industry and Tourism Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir went on the defensive, questioning whether the mayor was playing an April Fool’s joke, adding, “We are ‘on it’, as the kids say.” She assured the mayor that her ministry has set increasing revenue through tourism as a top priority, and questioned how well informed the mayor was on the topic.

Ragnheiður was the architect behind the controversial and ultimately ill-fated “Nature Pass” idea. If executed, this pass would have been sold to tourists, with the proceeds going to the care and upkeep of the many sites of natural wonder around the country that have proven so popular with tourists.

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