Over-tourism forcing Iceland to levy new tourist tax

Published on : Saturday, March 18, 2017

northern lights in IcelandOverwhelmed by a record number of visitors, Iceland’s government is planning to increase taxes in the tourism sector. This, if implemented would mean that world’s most expensive holiday destination might soon become a bit more expensive. The plan is to limit the travellers’ access to the popular visitor spots.

 

 

Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Iceland’s tourism minister said that the travel sector and all other associated have to be careful not to become victims of their own success.

 

The popular TV series Game of Thrones created the scope for pop culture tourism boom and created a currency plunge in Iceland. with visitors’ numbers growing exponentially — from 490,000 in 2010 to an estimated 2.3 million this year, the rise in the demand and popularity of Iceland is evident.

 

Tourism is the country’s main export and brings about 45 percent of foreign exchange, which is about 560 billion kronur ($5.1 billion) in 2017.

 

Gylfadottir is worried about the consequences of overcrowding with tourists which might spoil natural treasures. Thingvellir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Jokulsarlon, an otherworldly glacier lagoon are the two major popular destinations which are currently at the centre of a legal dispute.

 

 

The minister said that there are some areas which are no way able to facilitate 1 million visitors every year, and allowing more tourists than possible to accommodate can lose on the elements what make them special.

 

 

Any tax hike would add to the already considerable bills tourists have to foot when visiting the country. According to Islandsbanki, hotel rooms are as much as a third more expensive than comparable accommodation in other Nordic capitals. Also, the cost of the alcoholic beverages is almost double than the EU average price.

 

News information source: skift

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