The Icelandic state needs to decide whether it will purchase Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, a popular tourist site in South Iceland, Fréttablaðið reports. The canyon is up for sale and an offer from a private investor has been accepted, but the state has pre-emptive purchase rights to the land. The purchase price is estimated between ISK 300 and 350 million [$2.3-2.7 million; €2.2-2.5 million].
The canyon and surrounding area covering 315 hectares was put up for sale six years ago. A buyer has now been found, and the sale manager revealed that they were Icelandic and work in tourism. The state can step in and buy the land if Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson decide to do so, but they have a limited window of time.
Fjaðrárgljúfur has been managed by the Environment Agency of Iceland in recent years. The agency has closed the area for weeks-long periods in recent years when tourist traffic was causing damage to the fragile vegetation around the canyon. The spot was not well-known to foreign tourists until it appeared in a music video by Justin Bieber in 2015, which put it on the map.
Until now, there has been no admission fee for visitors to the canyon. It is not known whether the private purchaser aims to profit from the land by charging admission.