Is Iceland Too Popular For Its Own Good?

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A large sign people that Iceland’s Fjadrárgljúfur canyon is closed to visitors.
Yet many people keep driving down the road to the canyon. A at a roadblock must explain to them why no one can pass: The area cannot support more visitors.
Drivers try to ranger Hanna Jóhannsdóttir into opening the entrance to the canyon. Some offer her money if she agrees to help. They should know that such a will not work.
“Food from people’s home country is the most bribery,” said Jóhannsdóttir. She recently turned down a free trip to Dubai in exchange for letting past the roadblock.
The problem is that the North Atlantic nation may be too popular for its own good.
Last year, 2.3 million people visited Iceland, compared with just 600,000 eight years ago. The number of visitors is out of proportion to the infrastructure needed to protect its countryside.
Inga Palsdottir is the head of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland. She said a single film shot or video has often put places on the map.
The extreme example in Iceland, she said, is the of a United States Navy airplane. The plane crashed on a black beach in 1973. The seven Americans on the Douglas DC-3 aircraft all survived but the plane wreck was never .
“Then someone decided to on it and now it’s one of the most popular places in the country,” said Palsdottir.
Fjadrárgljúfur canyon could be seen in the most recent season of the television program “Game of .” It also was part of a Justin Bieber music video.
The video has been watched over 440 million times on YouTube since 2015. The singer can be seen walking on plant life and bathing in the cold river the canyon’s walls.
Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson said it is “a bit too simplistic to the entire situation on Justin Bieber.” However, he famous visitors to consider the effects of their actions.
behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows,” he told The Associated Press.
Gudbrandsson added, “In Justin Bieber’s defense, the canyon did not, at the time he visited, have rope and designated paths…”
Over 1 million people have visited the area since the Bieber video was released, the Environment Agency of Iceland estimates. The visitors left deep on the country’s vegetation. The canyon was closed for all but five weeks this year.