Visitors parking vehicles at Þingvellir National Park will need to pay for the privilege starting from May 1.
It is hoped new charges will inject ISK 40-50 million (EUR 283,000-354,000/USD 320,000-400,000) into the park’s tight budget which will be used for essential development and improved services, according to ranger Ólafur Örn Haraldsson.
Ólafur told Vísir that it is obvious that it is not possible for one of the country’s top tourist attractions to provide necessary services and an ever-expanding workforce without any money.
He adds that the park isn’t even asking for money to invest in future development—this extra money will be used to pay for staff and services which have already been on offer for two years—including ISK 80-90 million spent on a new car park. Other new services the park didn’t used to bother with include sanding icy paths in winter, snow plowing, and extra staffing in the off-season.
The cost of parking will be ISK 500 (EUR 3.50/USD 4) for a family car for up to a whole day. 4x4s and vehicles for up to eight passengers will pay ISK 750, ISK 1,500 for up to 18 passengers and coaches for more than 19 people will pay ISK 3,500.
The decision to start charging was made last July and the plan was to start charging in November, but the introduction was delayed at the request of tour companies.
Ólafur says there is a general agreement in the tourist industry that it is fair to generate income for services rendered, but that charging entry to a national park would be wrong. He says that some tour companies are quite happy with the parking charge compromise, while others are very unhappy. The main reason for discontent seems to be that some companies set their prices long in advance and cannot now hike prices in response to the new charge.