Iconic Iceland beauty spot Fjaðrárgljúfur is closing because of a negative impact the increased tourism numbers is having on the location.
Fjaðrárgljúfur, a canyon in south east of the country which is up to 100m deep, dates back to the cold periods of the Ice Age, about two million years ago.
This canyon was somewhat unknown,” Daníel Freyr Jónsson, head of the country’s environment agency, told Lonely Planet. “The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50 percent to 80 percent between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
Justin Bieber filmed his 2015 music video for ‘I’ll Show You’ at the location and, such is the impact of his adoring fans, resulted in high numbers of tourists visiting the canyon.
“It’s just a natural wonder that wasn’t meant to be that popular,” Inga Hlin Palsdottir, director of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland, told CNN. “We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round. We need paths that can be discovered all year round. It’s not only because of nature, it’s a safety issue.”
She added: “In Iceland you have extreme weather conditions — for example, springtime can be very difficult for the nature when the snow is melting and everything gets more wet and muddy.”
Hannes Sasi Palsson, owner of Reykjavik-based tourism company Pink Iceland, added in the same CNN report: “That part of the country simply can’t cope with all those stomping feet.
“We have to ask ourselves whether we want to build viewing platforms, charge entry or simply close the area down for a few months a year, giving it time to heal. It’s a debate that any country coming to grips with a massive increase in tourism has to grapple with.”
“I don’t necessarily think it will be solved by selling tickets,” she says. “No decisions have been made in this regard.”