From Iceland — Ísafjörður Limits Cruise Ship Passengers to 5,000 Per Day

Ísafjörður Limits Cruise Ship Passengers to 5,000 Per Day

Published April 17, 2024

Photo by
Art Bicnick/The Reykjavík Grapevine

According to a new cruise ship policy adopted by the municipality of Ísafjörður, the number of ship passengers allowed to visit the town each day will be limited, reports RÚV. Captains will also be prohibited from blowing horns unless necessary. The chairperson of the town council says the new cruise ship policy will ensure the long-term reception of the ships.

The first cruise ship of the summer arrived in Ísafjörður earlier this month. About 200 ships are expected to visit Ísafjörður this year, bringing in nearly 200,000 visitors.

Gylfi Ólafsson, the chairman of the municipal council of Ísafjörður, says the town benefits greatly from the arrival of cruise ships. “The most significant change in this policy is that we set a limit on the number of passengers we can accommodate each day.”

Next summer, up to 5,000 visitors will be allowed to visit Ísafjörður per day, an increase from previous years.

“If the tourism industry continues to enhance its infrastructure by purchasing more buses, improving services, and doing better for the people, ensuring there are restrooms and that services are open and available, then we can accommodate more guests with ease,” says Gylfi.

Gylfi points out that two-thirds of the port’s revenue comes from the ships and the tourism industry also benefits greatly from their arrival. It is proposed to set up a fund, financed by the port, to promote the town’s culture. Regarding the environmental impact of the ships, Gylfi says the air quality at the port is good and there are plans to install more air quality monitors.

Unlike the Faxaflói Ports, they cannot adjust port fees based on the environmental impact of the ships, as the Ísafjörður Port is operated by the municipality. The reason is that when municipalities impose fees, they must follow the same rules as taxes. “When it comes to cruise ships, we are the third largest port in the country and are just very close to being as large as Akureyri and Reykjavík,” says Gylfi. “We would gladly have the port fees take into account the environmental rating so that the ships that pollute less pay less, but we are not allowed to do that.”

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