Visits by tourists to Þingvellir National Park in Southwest Iceland have increased by 238 percent over the darkest months, November through February, in ten years. Their number has gone up from 21,000 to 71,000, visir.is reports.
On an annual basis, the increase is 77 percent, from 332,000 tourists in 2004 to the expected number of 588,000 this year.
This was stated in a survey carried out by the tourism consultant and research company Rannsóknir og ráðgjöf ferðaþjónustunnar (RRF).
Tourists were asked whether the presence of so many other tourists had an impact on their experience at Þingvellir. Sixty-two percent of domestic tourists responded that it had no effect on their experience and 80 percent of foreign tourists.
Eighteen percent of Icelanders and 14 percent of foreigners said other tourists had a negative impact on their experience, while 20 percent of Icelanders and six percent of foreigners said the effect was positive.
Approximately 30 percent of Icelanders believed that the nature in Þingvellir was under strain because of the number of visiting tourists but only four percent of foreign tourists considered that to be the case.