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Tourism Policy Introduced

By Iceland Review

Comprehensive cooperation between authorities, municipalities, and the travel industry has been announced in a new policy for the travel industry, RÚV reports. Head of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association calls this a milestone. The minister for the interior hopes the policy will move the travel industry into the future.

Minister for Travel Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir and Grímur Sæmundsen, CEO of the Blue Lagoon and head of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, introduced the policy, Road Map for the Travel Industry, at Harpa concert hall yesterday. The meeting was well attended, but a comprehensive policy has long been called for in this rapidly growing sector. The travel industry is expected to turn in ISK 350 billion (USD 2.76 billion, EUR 2.46 billion) in foreign exchange earnings this year, ISK 620 billion (USD 4.9 billion, EUR 4.35 billion) in 2020, and ISK 1,000 billion (USD 7.9 billion, EUR 7.02 billion) in 2030. That almost equals total foreign exchange earnings for this year.

The policy specifies that an emphasis must be placed on spreading tourists over the country, protecting the environment and increasing profit. “We don’t have time to wait any longer,” Ragnheiður Elín said.

Grímur remarked, “As the name suggests, this is a beacon to guide us into the work ahead. The Road Map covers the next five years.” He calls the policy a milestone towards ensuring growth of the travel industry for years to come.

A new Tourist Control Center will be established to coordinate operation and work out ways in extensive cooperation all over the country for an industry that is very complex. It is in fact under the administration of four ministers; the legal frame is complex, responsibility in the governing sector is in many cases unclear, which necessitates coordination.

The Road Map suggests that fees may be collected from tourists at destinations where considered appropriate.

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