Glöggt er gests augað
Leiðsögumaðurinn Ólafur Schram gaf okkur leyfi til að birta bréf frá viðskiptavini hans Ulriku nokkurri sem hefur heimsótt Ísland mörgum sinnum og var hér gestur við aðra konu í ár. Ulriku var heldur betur brugðið í brún í þessari heimsókn en hún segir meðal annars í bréfinu:
Ég skil mjög vel að ferðaþjónustan er mikilvægur þáttur í efnahag landsins – en er það meiningin að Ísland verði einhverskonar „Mallorca norðursins“?
Bréfið talar sínu máli og í því eru nefndar áhyggjur margra af þróun mála í ferðaþjónustu á Íslandi. Meðfylgjandi myndir eru úr safni Kvennablaðsins.
I lost „my“ Iceland! Many many coaches at Namaskard and other “hot spots” of tourism, no seat at 2 restaurants at Husavik for dinner available, one has to wait 2 hours. No space available at Jökulsarlon for car parking – car has to be parked on the side of the road. And many, many people everywhere. Severe changes at Landmannalaugar. Many more roads are paved till the very end of the island, even small roads. Much more traffic, so it is not so easy to stop everywhere for birdwatching anymore… And asking for entrance fee to see water falls and vulcanic features totally changes Icelands atmosphere.
I understand very well that tourism is an important economical branch for Iceland – but is it the goal to become the “Mallorca of the North”? And it is especially your business as a tour guide and you might be happy to get many tourists, of course. But if I now recommend Iceland to friends and others for vacations I have to confine a bit and refer to the mass of tourists also.
Fortunately there are still areas with less tourists, unpaved roads, loneliness, landscape, wide views – if one knows were to search. We found them especially beside the touristic hot spots. But that is because on my 10th trip to Iceland I know where to go to find the “old” Iceland still. Our first week at Snaefellsnes (cottage at Arnarstapi) was fine, if we choose locations beside the main touristic stops. Second week at Husavik was fine, but Husavik town is much crowded, as it is Asbyrgi (terrible at the parking lot at the end), Dettifoss, Namaskard.
If a road is paved, people are driving faster and we birdwatcher can not stop at the side of the road to watch special birds which we just see during driving (e.g. gyrfalcon, merlin, ptarmigan…). That really takes a lot of possibilities for birding. If the road is unpaved, people drive more slowly and one can use the side of the road to stop. And when there is more traffic, driving is more strenuous at all. Of course, paved roads are comfortable and may be needed because there is more traffic now. But they take away the “little adventure” to drive in Iceland.
And to take entrance fee to visit special locations: tourists bring so much money to Iceland. From this it should be easy to maintain parking lots, toiletts and clean the areas by the government. Of course, not everything should be paid by the landowners. Yes, in other countries one has to pay entrance fees to visit national parks. But then you stay there for many hours or often several days. If you have to pay to see dettifoss for some minutes and walk an hour overall – that changes the atmosphere of Iceland completely to mere commerce. This does not fit to the little “adventure” of Iceland – this is our opinion.
The accommodations for Heijo were fine, especially great in Hveragerdi (guesthouse Frumskogar). So thanks for these reservations. Heijo, who has travelled through the whole world, said: Iceland has a beautiful, wild and wide landscape, birdwatching is wonderful, driving and hiking is fine, but in many locations there are too many tourists. May be next time we should go to Greenland and Svalbard(?).
I wish you good tours and all the best.
I will come back to Iceland in future, nevertheless…