From Iceland — Mayor Considering Downtown Hotel Upper Limit

Mayor Considering Downtown Hotel Upper Limit

Published August 18, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Baldur Kristjáns

Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson says the possibility of setting an upper limit on the number of hotels along Laugavegur and Hverfisgata is being considered, in addition to special provisions for AirBnB rentals.

RÚV reports that Dagur was interviewed by radio station Rás 1 to discuss ways in which the city plans to deal with the sharp increase in tourism in Iceland. The number of tourists to Iceland so far this year is already 35% greater than it was at this same time last year.

Dagur said that it has proven difficult to keep up with the growth. Approving lots for building hotels can take months, sometimes even years, and AirBnB rentals have proven to have a real effect on the domestic rental market.

“We’re falling short, so we’ve instituted an upper limit of hotels in [Reykjavík neighbourhood] Kvos, and are examining an upper limit along Laugavegur and Hverfisgata,” he said, adding that the city has been doing well in pointing out areas to potential investors that are in need of sprucing up, such as Hlemmur and Suðurlandsbraut.

Dagur also said that while the city has no plans to place a ban on AirBnB rentals, he believes it is important to differentiate between people renting out rooms in their own homes, and companies who buy up apartments for the purpose of renting them out through AirBnB.

“We need to face the fact that we are a large tourist city, and we need to deal with this, just like other cities,” he said.

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