So, more airlines, more hotels being built, more tourists. I can’t say I see any real desire from anyone to limit the number of tourists visiting Iceland, but I can understand why some people see this as a future problem.
In England we have some countryside, although different, that rivals Iceland in its natural beauty. At least it does when it’s raining or snowing and the visitors are tucked-up at home. Many of these places have wide, and I mean tens-of-meters wide, tracks worn into the soil and rock, where countless thousands walk every year. We call them ‘ramblers’ but some people give them worse names...
We were in Iceland over the New Year and into January, landing in a blizzard on December 28.
Attached is a photograph taken at Geysir on January 2nd. The temperature was around -5ºC and the roads were slick as a skating rink. But as you can see this was no deterrent to making the trip.
Yes, Geysir is a popular tourist ‘trap,’ and the area is properly served with facilities for the visitor. But how long before the hiking trails at Landmannalaugar are worn into super-highways?
And there is the problem of litter. Maybe litter bins every 100-meters will solve that problem?
If Iceland is serious about controlling visitor numbers, which I hope it is, then limiting the number of slots at Keflavik would be a good start. Apart from the weekly ferry at Seyðisfjörður and the cruise liners, that is where control of numbers can take place.
We will still come to Iceland, but be warned there are beautiful scenic places in England, just a couple of hours drive from home, that I will never visit simply because they are overrun with visitors. It would be sad if that ever happened to Iceland.
Tony Gomm, Chandlers Ford, U.K.