Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said in parliament today that charging fees through different methods at various tourist destinations around Iceland is unacceptable. Sigmundur and MP for the Left Greens Árni Þór Sigurðsson agreed that a framework needs to be set up before the government lost control of the situation.
There has been much discussion surrounding the increase in tourists to Iceland, the charging of entrance fees to popular destinations and the public’s right to travel freely. Icelandic Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir has announced a bill for the implementation of a nature pass system in 2015.
At the same time, landowners in some areas, including Geysir geothermal area, are charging entrance fees. Landowners of other areas have indicated that they would also like to start charging tourists.
Both the landowners and the government say that the idea is to collect funds for the development and maintenance of tourist attractions.
The Landowners Association of Geysir initially suspended the introduction of an entrance fee to visitors of Geysir after the Finance Minister filed an injunction demand at the Selfoss District Commissioner. According to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the Icelandic State owns a large part of the land and therefore it is unlawful for the landowners to make a unilateral decision about implementing a fee. Funds, the committee says, should come from implementing a nature pass system or other methods.