‘Nature Pass’ shelved

The parliamentary bill proposing the introduction of a ‘nature pass’ for Iceland will not be passed in this parliament and there is no intention of resubmitting it in the next, according to Ragn­heiður Elín Árna­dótt­ir, Icelandic Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Protection of tourist locations

The proposed ‘nature pass’ is a pay-as-you-use system of charging up front for access to specific tourist hotspots owned by the State and local authorities. Proceeds from the ‘nature pass’ would be used to fund “necessary development, maintenance and protection of tourist locations”. It would cost ISK 1,500 (approx. €10) for every visitor over 18 and would be valid for three years.

The idea of creating such a ‘nature pass’ was identified by the Icelandic government as the best possible solution to the funding issue, but has proved controversial and divided opinion among those in tourism industry. Árna­dótt­ir admits that it now looks unlikely that the Icelandic Parliament (‘Alþingi’) will pass the bill, but is adamant that other ways to protect sites of natural beauty run by the State will be found.

Committed to ensuring development

“Whatever the fate of the ‘nature pass’, we are still responsible for ensuring that the tourist attractions in question receive the infrastructure development they need,” Árna­dótt­ir states. “If no consensus can be reached on other means of funding, the project will be paid for from State coffers.”

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