BuSK partner meeting in Iceland at the end of November made two things clear: first, even the countryside is crowded by tourists all year round and, second, no wonder since the landscape is so unique and beautiful.
The meeting took place in October which in Finnish Lapland is truly an off-season for tourism. In Iceland, the best places such as Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon were filled with tourists from all over the world.
What the BuSK group heard from local entrepreneurs is that they do not suffer from overtourism in a way which has been lately connected to Iceland. The problems of having too many tourists concentrate in Reykjavik and especially to the phenomenon that the tourists have really short visits. In the countryside there is still room for tourists.
Vatnajökull national park staff told that more management guidelines are about to come in order to arrange the relationships between parks and tourism entrepreneurs. Until now the situation has been a bit unclear with various kinds of arrangements of having business cottages on the parking area of the visitor center.
Reindeer herding in Iceland?
The BuSK group also heard a presentation of the land use problems of the Swedish Gran Sameby. It might sound as a far-fetched topic in Iceland. However, there is a reindeer herd in Iceland as well although it is not an ownership of reindeer herders but it is hunted with strict regulation and under the guidance of local guides.
The main issue with the Swedish Gran Sameby is that their pastures are divided with busy E4 road and now there are plans to have a railway through the herding area. Eva-Lisa Myntti, Niklas Jonsson and Tobias Jonsson gave a great illustration with drone videos how these constructions would affect to their herding practices – and how e.g. big trucks are not ready to wait at all while the reindeer are moved over the road.
Text: Seija Tuulentie & Ari Nikula