Iceland MP: Too Many Tourists Skip to content

Iceland MP: Too Many Tourists

The number of tourists in Iceland has outgrown the country’s capacity to receive them, according to MP for The Movement Þór Saari.

tourists-myvatn_psTourists near Lake Mývatn. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“We cannot cope with this number. It is damaging the land,” he told radio program Reykjavík Síðdegis on Wednesday, pointing out that the number of tourists had already grown to double the country’s population and that the majority of tourists visit during a three month period.

According to recent estimates, the number of tourists to Iceland is expected to grow to one million in the next few years and Þór says that the industry’s plans to continually increase the number of visitors are unsustainable.

“This will not work. I do not want to see Icelanders being robbed of their land for some companies in the tourist industry,” he said.

According to the MP, too many tourists damage the quality and way of life that exists in the country. “Icelanders who go downtown to their cafés, which they have maybe been doing for years, cannot get in because they are full of tourists,” he commented.

Þór said that large numbers of tourists deprive Icelanders from the environment in which they have lived and grown up. “We can no longer go to Þingvellir and enjoy the view. We can no longer go to Gullfoss and Geysir and enjoy going there because there are thousands of foreign tourists, disturbing you in your own country,” he continued.

Þór said that Icelanders seem to be repeating their mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket, referring to the herring industry, power plants, fish stocks and now the tourism industry. “It’s all about making the most [money] in the shortest time possible,” he said.

Click here to read more about the increase in the number of tourists in Iceland.


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