Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Travel

Minister of tourism: Our goal is not to increase the number of tourists further

By Staff

  • Skógafoss waterfall The walking paths at Skógafoss were not built for the current level of traffic. As a consequence the paths have repeatedly turned into mud. Photo/Icelandic Environment Agency

The goal of Iceland should not be to grow the number of foreign travellers any further, but rather to ensure that the numbers do not fall in the coming years, the minister of tourism argues. The Icelandic Travel Industry Association has called for steps to manage the number of tourists. Last year saw a 39% increase in the number of foreign travellers who visited Iceland.

Read more: 1.8 million people visited Iceland in 2016, a 39% increase over 2015

Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð, the minister of industry and tourism, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that the focus should be shifted from growing the industry to protect and build on the growth of past years. "Our primary goal should not be the number of tourists, but to ensure we build skills, capacity and quality and that the industry produces more value."

Current levels are sustainable
The chairman of the Travel Industry Association told RÚV that Iceland could handle the current level of tourism, but that the growth could not continue uncontrolled. "We must find ways to manage the flow of travellers to the country, and around the country and at the most popular destinations in a far more effective manner than we have been doing."

The government has been criticized for inadequate investments in critical infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of visitors. This year, however, several large projects are underway to improve facilities at popular destinations.

 

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