Yesterday’s news that Hvalur hf., Iceland’s last fin whaling company, would resume the hunt this summer after a three-year hiatus has not been well met by the tourism industry, Vísir reports.
“It is actually well known and widely reported that the tourism industry believes that whaling hurts Iceland’s image as a tourism destination,” Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, executive director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, told reporters. “All you need do is look at how whaling is reported on in the foreign press. It is often reported in larger publications with heated coverage.”
Jóhannes points out that the vast majority of people who visit Iceland do so to enjoy the natural wonders of the country. This would definitely include whale watching, which is a popular pastime for many visitors to the country. He added that the tourism industry has received commentary from many people abroad regarding whaling.
“In the tourism industry, both in private companies and in public polls; in letters, phone calls, and in other communications,” he said. “[Whaling] has a very precise effect and companies feel it the moment whaling enters the discussion again.”
As reported, the current license to hunt whales will expire in 2023, and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Svandís Svavarsdóttir will then decide whether or not to simply stop issuing whaling licenses from 2024 onwards. She has argued that there is little demand for whaling products, and that the industry does next to nothing for Iceland’s economy.
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