Company Operating Tourist Accomodation Without Licence

campsite

Iceland Igloo Village has been operating trailer accommodation for tourists for several months without a licence, Vísir reports. The South Iceland Public Health Office was tipped off about the company’s operations at the end of September and informed police about it last week. The Office says it is rare for such situations to arise.

Iceland Igloo Village operates trailers on the property Leyni in the Landsveit area which they have connected to the regional water and sewage systems without the licence to do so. The company is also lacking an operating licence. The accommodations are run by company Eternal Resorts, which is in the ownership of four Malaysian investors.

Ásgeir Kristján Ólafsson, a spokesperson for landowners in the area, says the region’s building inspector was informed of the company’s operations by phone in May “but nothing has been done yet.” Ásgeir is particularly concerned that the trailers are located within a water protection zone.

A decision will be made this week on whether or not the accommodations will be closed.

Gamma Needs ISK 1 Billion to Continue Construction Projects

Gamma upphaf construction

Gamma Capital Management must raise ISK 1 billion ($8.1m/€7.3) in order to continue the construction of 277 apartments in the capital area that were financed by its Gamma: Novus fund, Vísir reports. Gamma’s two real estate funds Novus and Anglia plummeted in value last week, losing millions for their investors, which include several Icelandic pension funds.

Novus operated the real estate company Upphaf, which has built hundreds of apartments in the Reykjavík capital area in recent years. Construction projects in Hafnarfjörður and Kópavogur’s Kársnes neighbourhood are among those that are suspended due to the fund’s devaluation.

Read more: Pension funds lose millions

Gamma’s executives have presented three options for preventing the company’s bankruptcy: that creditors provide the capital, that a loan is granted by creditors and others, or that new parties come to the table. According to Vísir’s sources, it should come to light this week whether the fundraising succeeds.

Diving in Þingvellir Could Jeopardise UNESCO Status

Silfra snorkeling

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has asked the Icelandic government to provide information on diving operations in Þingvellir National Park, mbl.is reports. The committee received a complaint about the snorkelling and scuba diving operations that take place in the park’s Silfra rift. Seven diving companies have access to Silfra, where some 76,000 divers and snorkellers take a dip each year, potentially affecting its flora and fauna, as well as its appearance.

Lawyer Jónas Haraldsson sent the letter of complaint to the UNESCO committee in early August. He states that diving operations in Silfra prioritise profit over protection and contradict the conditions UNESCO places on world heritage sites.

Iceland contains three sites that are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. While Þingvellir is listed for its cultural importance, Surtsey island and Vatnajökull National Park are listed for their natural importance.

Iceland’s Top 10% Own 57.5% of Total Net Worth

money

The wealthiest 10% of families in Iceland owned around 57.5% of the total net worth in the country in 2018. The data comes from Statistics Iceland’s annual report on liabilities and assets. The report reveals there was an increase in net worth for all family types from 2017 to 2018.

Total net worth of families was ISK 4.75 trillion ($38.2b/€34.8b) in 2018 and increased by 15.6% from the previous year. However, the increase was less than in 2017 when it was 23% between years. The 10% with the most net worth owned around 57.5% of the total net worth, or ISK 2.73 trillion ($22b/€20b).

Between 2017 and 2018, net worth for individuals increased by 15.6%, married couples without children by 13.8%, married couples with children by 19% and single parents by 25.3%. Net worth between years increased most in the age group of 25-29 years (43.9%) and in the age group of 30-34 years (33.6%).

Debts increase

Total debts were around ISK 2.1 trillion ($17b/€15.5b) at the end of 2018, an increased of 7.6% from the previous year. Total debts of families in the highest 10th decile were around ISK 834 billion ($6.7b/€6.1b) or 39.5% of total debts.

Assets consist of real estate, vehicles, deposits and securities. The report is based on annual tax returns.