New Fees at Jökulsárlón Could Generate Up To ISK 40 Million

jökulsárlón parking fee

Park rangers for Vatnajökull have stated that the necessary infrastructure will soon be in place to introduce fees at Jökulsárlón, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations.

The new fees would be introduced this June, and could potentially generate some ISK 40 million [$285,000; €266,000].

Read More: 72% of Icelanders Support Tourism Fee

According to rangers for South Iceland, new cameras will be set up in April of this year and will be tested for two months, before becoming fully operational this June.

Future visitors to Jökulsárlón in private passenger vehicles can expect to pay ISK 1,000 [$7.10; €6,70] for parking, though visitors who also visit Skaftafell will receive a 50% discount. Camping fees will not be included in this amount.

The introduction of a parking fee at Jökulsárlón has been discussed as a possibility for some time. Initial proposals first came in 2017, when the Icelandic state acquired all of the land surrounding the popular glacial lagoon. According to RÚV, nearly 1 million tourists visit the area annually. This volume of visitors means that the area is expensive to maintain.

In Focus: Privately Owned Tourist Sites

Although by Icelandic law, all land is open to the public, increasing numbers of visitors to Iceland have raised concerns in recent years about the sustainability of the tourism industry. Notably, these laws, known traditionally in English as “the right to wander,” do not cover services, such as parking and bathrooms.

 

72% of Icelanders Support Tourism Fee, According to Recent Poll

Geysir Iceland tourism

According to a recent poll by market research company Prósent for Fréttablaðið, some 72% of Icelanders agree that foreign tourists should pay for access to natural sites and parks, while 54% of Icelanders believe that Icelanders should not have to pay for access to these sites.

Only 12% of Icelanders disagreed with charging tourists for access, while some 30% of respondents did agree that Icelanders should pay a fee as well.

In a statement concerning the recent poll, Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, minister of tourism, stated that fees in the industry are being examined. The fees are planned to go into effect starting in 2024. The goal of such fees will be to ensure that municipalities also benefit equally from tourist traffic.

Many natural sites and parks in Iceland already charge for parking, including many attractions along the Golden Circle and South Coast. These parking fees were initially controversial but came in response to the need to develop facilities in light of the growing volume of tourism Iceland saw in the 2010s. Two of Iceland’s most popular tourism sites, Skógafoss and Geysir, were even placed on at-risk status by Iceland’s Environmental Agency.

Complicating the question of parking- and tourism fees is the fact that many of Iceland’s most iconic tourism destinations are actually located on privately owned land, meaning that it is in large part up to the landowner to regulate the fees and land use. The lack of cooperation between bureaucracy and landowners has been identified as a serious roadblock to safety improvements at Reynisfjara, where a foreign tourist recently died. There have also been related questions in recent years about foreign land ownership in Iceland and whether there should be more restrictions.

The online survey was conducted from June 22 to July 4, sampling some 2,000 individuals aged 18 and over.

City Centre Parking Zones and Hours Extended, Rates Increased

Proposed extension of parking zone 1

The Reykjavík Planning and Transport Committee has approved a proposal to extend parking fee hours for popular locations in the city centre and will start charging parking fees on Sundays. In addition, parking rates will go up in all tariff zones.

Zone 1 will be extended as the map above shows. The extended parking fee hours for zone will be 9 AM-8 PM on weekdays and 10 AM-8 PM Saturdays. On Sundays, parking fees will be collected from 10 AM-4 PM. Both of these changes exclude Borgartún.

Parking fee rates for zone 1 will go from 340 ISK (EUR 2.47 – USD 2.74) per hour to 400 ISK (EUR 2.91 – USD 3.23) per hour. Zones 2 and 4 will change from 190 ISK (Eur 1.38 – USD 1.53) per hour to 200 ISK (EUR 1.45 – USD 1.61) and zone 3 will go from charging  190 ISK (Eur 1.38 – USD 1.53) per hour for the first two hours and 55 ISK (EUR 0.40 – USD 0.44) per hour after that to simply charging 100 ISK (EUR 0.73 – USD 0.81) per hour.

The People’s Party’s Observer in the Planning and Transport Committee entered in the official minutes that “the proposals were focused on making it harder for car users to drive to the city centre. The result will be immediate, more and more Icelanders, suburban residents, will stop visiting the city centre.”

The Pirate Party, Social Democratic Alliance, and the Reform Party’s counter-entry stated that “the extension of parking fee zones and hours was in accordance with the city’s policy on parking issues. Its intended goals were better traffic control, more economic use of parking, and increased revenue. A reasonable fee collection encourages us of divers modes of transport and reduces use of beautiful city space being used as long-term storage for cars.”