Nature is the main asset for tourism in Iceland as over 80% of foreign visitors mention nature as the reason for visiting the country. At the same time, Icelandic nature is highly vulnerable to an increasing number of tourists, especially areas such as moss rich landscapes, geothermal areas and many areas in the highlands.
There are already signs of degradation of some frequently visited areas in Iceland, such as parts of the Golden Circle, Goðafoss waterfall, Dimmuborgir by Lake Mývatn and the geothermal area at Hverarönd, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and others.
Research should form the backbone of decisions regarding infrastructure buildup, restrictions of access, implementation of fees etc. However, research on the impacts of tourists on the natural environment is seriously lacking in Iceland and needs to be increased. Only 0.5% of the total amount of governmental support to research into the main industries goes to tourism. Landvernd has repeatedly drawn attention to this.
iv) consider carefully to start charging money for access to nature
All this needs to go hand in hand with research and adaptive management with the precautionary principle in mind, but it is important to start this planning right away.