Everyone wants to experience Iceland’s beautiful nature. However a major increase in tourism is creating new problems in Iceland. In the capital city Reykjavik the mayor is taking a stand against NATO, and Iceland’s airport Keflavik deals with mischievous youngsters. Pandeia’s Svanlaug Árnadóttir gives a brief account of what is going on in Iceland.
Tourism is booming right now in Iceland. The amount of tourists visiting Iceland every year has increased by 20 % from 2012 to 2013.
This requires accommodation for the visitors, and around 1100 new hotel rooms are being built Reykjavík. Since tourism is expected to increase even more in the coming years, it is estimated that around 1600 hotel rooms need to be built before 2020, in order to accommodate the geyser-seeking visitors. Recently the American news company CNN selected Iceland’s capital Reykjavík as part of its list of winter vacation ideas.
A heated debate has now started in Iceland on whether to start charging tourists a fee to see Icelandic nature’s gems. Up until now, access has been free of charge and with the increase in tourism, some of the sights require maintenance. From now on, every adult will be charged a fee of 3 Euros to see the ‘Geysir’ – which is Iceland’s most famous geyser. The money will be used for maintenance of the area, and it is likely that this will be a tendency for other natural sights as well.
Mayor of Reykjavik speaks up against Nato
On 21st February, NATO is running an event called The Iceland Air Meet. It is an annual air-defence training event. The event has caused great concern to the mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr as military airplanes will fly past Reykjavík City. His opinion is, that Iceland should not even be in NATO. Iceland is currently the only NATO member, without a standing army. It has become a mission for the mayor to ensure that Reykjavík is ‘a city without an army’. It is therefore important for him that no weapons enter Reykjavík city around the event.
Prank bomb threat
Earlier this week a bomb threat was issued regarding an airplane flying in from London. Thirty minutes before the plane was scheduled to land in Keflavík airport a phone call was received and the pilot was forced to land outside of the airport for security reasons. The passengers were evacuated and all luggage was searched. At the end of the day the police investigation came to the conclusion. It was merely a prank call from a 13-year old boy.