The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland
PublisherPublishDrive Inc (PublishDrive)
Iceland is in the midst of an unprecedented tourist boom that has brought wealth to the country, but also myriad issues and challenges. Through a series of short essays, this book provides a unique insight into the social and environmental impact that tourism is having on Iceland, and with wit and intelligence offers invaluable tips for touring safely, responsibly, and in harmony with the locals. A fascinating resource for anyone interested in contemporary Iceland, and an essential companion for all visitors to the country.
Among the topics addressed in this book:
• Why now?—Reasons for the tourism boom in Iceland
• The impact of tourism on Iceland’s housing market, health care system, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, and more
• Touring Iceland, staying safe—the things to keep in mind while traveling in Iceland’s treacherous terrain
• Out driving. The most dangerous parts of Iceland? Its roads! Read our tips for staying safe
• What they think of us—he things our visitors complain about
• What we think of them: tourist behaviors that really, seriously irk the Icelanders
• Crazy stories of tourists in Iceland (hahaha oh lord!)
• The environmental footprint: depletion of natural resources, pollution, and the physical impact of tourism
• Taxing tourists? The endless debate and what it entails
• Can't we just all get along? Tips for touring in harmony with the locals
• The truth about those Iceland myths: jailed bankers, believing in elves, the incest app, sleeping around … don’t believe everything you hear!
• The hilarious questions we get (“What time do the northern lights come on?”)
… and so much more!
"Yes, Iceland’s landscape is treacherous, and there are dangers in both expected and unexpected places. Yet the most dangerous aspect of touring Iceland is not those hot springs, glaciers, or rogue waves, but something far more commonplace: driving.
Iceland has a very low population density—only about three people per square kilometer, or eight per square mile. Building and maintaining an efficient road system obviously costs a few crowns, and hitherto the Icelanders have been, if not entirely satisfied, then at least reasonably content with their single-lane highways, gravel roads, and the mountainous F-roads that are generally only open in summer.
So here we are, merrily driving on our sub-standard roads and suddenly there is a tourist boom, resulting in far more cars on the road than ever before, including whole convoys of tour buses. This means increased wear and tear on roads that were already unsuitable for so much traffic and that require more frequent maintenance if they are to be kept safe. Also, many Icelandic roads are not built for the volume of traffic that they are now experiencing. For instance, shoulders have been known to collapse when a tour bus has moved too far over to one side of a narrow road, in order to make way for an oncoming vehicle. Thankfully there have been no serious injuries to people under such circumstances, but there have been enough scares to make people stand up and pay attention.
A related problem that has been growing ever more serious is the limited experience of many folks when it comes to the driving conditions endemic to Iceland. I am speaking of driving in strong winds, winter driving, two-lane highways, gravel roads, and so on. [...]
So the road system definitely needs a major overhaul. However, that is not an undertaking that can be completed overnight, and besides, it is entirely open to debate whether we want all those roads improved. More on that later.
For now, at least, we must accept the sort of road system we have, and try our best to make our visitors aware of the main dangers and risks of motoring in Iceland, so that we can all stay safe."