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Tourists Want Better Access to Iceland Eruption

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Tourists Want Better Access to Iceland Eruption

The Holuhraun eruption up close.

The Holuhraun eruption up close. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Icelandic tourism companies are being approached by prospective tourists from abroad, who are interested in viewing the eruption in Holuhraun up close, as stated by managing director of the Iceland Tourist Industry Association (SAF) Helga Árnadóttir.

Representatives of SAF, the Icelandic Tourist Board, tour organizers, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and search and rescue association ICE-SAR met yesterday to discuss the possibility of providing tourists with better access to the eruption, ruv.is reports.

Sightseeing tours by plane and helicopter have been authorized, while a large area in the highlands around Holuhraun, north of Vatnajökull glacier, has been closed since increased seismic activity was first picked up by Bárðarbunga volcano one month ago, due to the risk of a sub-glacial eruption and consequential flooding.

Scientists and media representatives have been authorized to access the eruption site. However, the area has been evacuated several times due to sudden elevated risk of flooding and, more recently, due to high and dangerous quantities of sulfur dioxide (SO2) being emitted by the eruption.

Director of the Civil Protection Department Víðir Reynisson stated that it is not yet safe to reopen the closed-off area north of Vatnajökull. However, he added that the department is looking into which routes can me made accessible and that a follow-up meeting will be held later this week.

A map of road closures can be found on the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

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