The Minister of Tourism, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, has said that Iceland should not be trying to lure any more tourists, reports RÚV.
“The number of tourists has increased by a lot in a very short space of time,” said Þórdís. “I think our real job right now is to protect the position we’re in. The number of visitors is not the goal, but rather that we manage to provide quality and create more value in the industry.”
She added that it was necessary to focus more on infrastructure, to build proper walking paths and stairs as well as a focus on building up the industry itself.
The number of tourists grew by 39% from 2015-2016, or roughly 1.8 million people and it is expected to grow by an additional 30% which will add pressure to the airports, roads, hotels and natural sites that are already working hard to accommodate the influx.
Grímur Sæmundsen, chairman of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, is by contrast optimistic about how the country will cope with the increase over the summer.
“I think we can handle the numbers expected,” said Grímur. “But I have expressed concerns about this growth going on unchecked. We need to look at controlling this flow of tourists to the country better than we have in the past. I think that’s the key.”