Ögmundur Jónasson, MP for the Left-Greens and former Interior Minister, visited Geysir again today without paying the new ISK 600 (USD 5, EUR 4) entrance fee. Ögmundur has called on others to join him in visiting Geysir to protest the fee. A large group of local and foreign tourists also entered the area without paying, ruv.is reports.
The introduction of a fee has been widely debated and Ögmundur is among those who believe the fee is illegal. Ögmundur turned down a special complimentary ticket offered to him by the spokesperson for the Landowners Association of Geysir, arguing that he didn’t need the ticket as he has every right to visit the area free of charge. Ögmundur said that he would return next weekend if the entrance fee was still in place.
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.