The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun has had a harmful effect on tourism in North Iceland; the number of foreign tourists in the region has dropped significantly in the past months. Managing director of the North Iceland Marketing Office Arnheiður Jóhannsdóttir calls for a marketing initiative similar to that launched following the 2010 eruption in Eyjafjallajökull.
In mid-September people involved in tourism in Northeast Iceland started noticing a downward trend in visits from foreign tourists, which is at odds with the development in off-season tourism in the past years, ruv.is reports.
Even though no surveys have been carried out to support her statement, Arnheiður is certain that the eruption is to blame. “The average tourist felt a little scared and believed to be in danger in Akureyri,” she says of the region’s capital.
Arnheiður is concerned that some tourism companies in the region may not survive the loss in business and calls for a joint initiative from the authorities and tourist industry as carried out when the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull threatened to interrupt with travel in South Iceland.
“One shouldn’t forget that even though the region is smaller than South Iceland, there are tour operators who are going through an extremely difficult period right now. When the highland was closed, conditions changed, and tours which they had sold couldn’t be run. While the situation remains uncertain, they can’t sell any future tours either,” Arnheiður explained.