Ögmundur Jónasson, MP for the Left-Greens and former Interior Minister, visited Geysir yesterday without paying the new ISK 600 (USD 5, EUR 4) entrance fee. Ögmundur had called on others to join him in visiting Geysir to protest the fee.
The introduction of a fee has been widely debated and Ögmundur is among those who believe the fee is illegal. “This is against the law … It is theft and should not be tolerated,” he said.
Ögmundur found that when he and the other protestors arrived yesterday, the ticket sellers who have been stationed by the entrance gates since the fee was introduced earlier this month, were not there, ruv.is reports.
Garðar Eiríksson, spokesperson for the Landowners Association of Geysir, said that there had not been anyone at the gates yesterday as the MP’s visit coincided with a conference about the hidden treasures of South Iceland. If Ögmundur had visited on Monday, he said, he would have been charged the ISK 600.
The area receives up to 6,000 visitors per day and landowners say that the fee will be used for development and protection of the area. The idea has been harshly criticized by some in the tourism industry.
As reported, according to the government, the land within the fenced area is owned by the state as set out in an agreement from 1935. The government therefore considers it unlawful for the landowners to make a unilateral decision about implementing a fee. Funds, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee says, should come from implementing a nature pass system or other methods.