Tourists prepared to pay entrance fee for Iceland’s attractions Skip to content

Tourists prepared to pay entrance fee for Iceland’s attractions

According to a study undertaken by masters student María Reynisdóttir, the majority of local and foreign tourists are prepared to pay an entrance fee for Iceland’s main tourist attractions, like Gullfoss waterfall, provided the money will be spent on improving and maintaining the sites.

Reynisdóttir asked 252 local and foreign tourists who visited Gullfoss waterfall and Skaftafell national park, near Vatnajökull glacier, in 2004 whether they would be prepared to pay a “moderate” entrance fee to visit the sites and 92 percent of participants said they would, Morgunbladid reports.

Such entrance fees have the potential to deliver over ISK 100 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.2 million) in profit.

In relation to increasing numbers of tourists traveling around Iceland every year, suggestions have surfaced regarding protecting the most popular attractions by introducing an entrance fee and thereby limiting traffic.

Reynisdóttir said she does not think it is right to use entrance fees to limit traffic, as one of the goals with national parks is to provide tourists with to access to the environment, but she approves of entrance fees if it is used for protecting the sensitive environment of Iceland’s main tourist attractions.

Reynisdóttir explained entrance fees are common in the US, Canada and New Zealand where tourists are used to being charged for visiting most sites.

But the arrangement is not without faults, Reynisdóttir said. “We have a very open landscape. Maybe it would be necessary to erect fences which would have negative influence on the experience of visitors.”

Another solution would be voluntary contributions from tourists. “People are obviously willing to pay if the money is used for protecting the site in question. I’m a little surprised that voluntary contributions have not been encouraged yet,” Reynisdóttir said.

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