Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir has called for limiting the number of visitors to certain sites, RÚV. The infrastructure and environment at many popular sites have already reached their limits and in some cases has been degraded.
The Minister presented a report to Parliament detailing the stresses resulting from the recent increase in tourists. She says the report shows that many areas of the country have already reached their limits, and that these sites cannot withstand even higher numbers of visitors. She said the time has come for a pilot project to test how and to what extent limits can be placed on tourists destinations. The governments over the past five years have claimed to have a plan, but have done very little to mange the industry.
There have been complaints from environmentalists, residents, and others for years. Albertína Friðbjörg Elíasdóttir, Social Democratic MP representing north Iceland, criticised spending advertising funds to promote the already crowded capital and Golden Circle. She suggested that money would be better spent promoting less popular areas like the north of the country.
The southwest of Iceland gets the vast majority of visitors because the nation’s capital and largest city, the international airport, and many impressive historical and natural sites are all very close to each other within this region. Distributing tourists more evenly across the country remains a challenge.