Travel agents in south Iceland are concerned about the summer. There have been few domestic and foreign travelers in the area since the volcanic eruption began in Eyjafjallajökull and there are much fewer bookings than at the same time in past years.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the major attractions in south Iceland. Now the ash has turned the otherwise serene scenery into a dark and eerie place. Photo by Dagbjört Oddný Matthíasdóttir.
Minister of Industry and Tourism Katrín Júlíusdóttir reviewed the situation with tourism companies in south Iceland on Tuesday. “There has been a significant downturn and one could say that the most pessimistic forecasts have come true,” the minister told Morgunbladid.
Júlíusdóttir said it is important to turn the situation around and actively promote south Iceland as an exciting destination.
At Tuesday’s meeting it was decided that local tourism companies, travel authorities and municipalities will cooperate on a marketing initiative and on improving the distribution of information about the situation in the area.
“We clearly feel a downturn,” said Elías Gudmundsson, who runs Hótel Vík and Víkurskálinn. The accommodation space was neither in full use in April nor May and he is concerned about cancellations for June. However, he is pleased with the ideas presented at the meeting.
Fridrik Pálsson, the owner of Hótel Rangá, agrees that cancellations for the summer are a concern. However, he wouldn’t describe it as a collapse in tourism, although it is clear that predictions of an increase in the number of tourists traveling to south Iceland are no longer realistic.
A nationwide marketing initiative for Iceland as a travel destination is also in the works and the website inspiredbyiceland.com has already been launched as part of the project.
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