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Additional funding for further development of tourist attractions

Geidingardalir eruption site. Photo: Elías Bj. Gíslasson
Geidingardalir eruption site. Photo: Elías Bj. Gíslasson

Last week, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, the Minister of Tourism, announced additional allocations from the Tourist Site Protection Fund, a total amount of ISK 122 million.

Additionally, more than ISK 70 million will be spent on infrastructure development and environmental protection at the Fagradalsfjall eruption site, according to proposals from the Minister of Tourism and the Environment and Natural Resources Minister.

A popular tourist attraction

It is clear that with the eruption at Reykjanes, the new eruption site will be a popular tourist destination for the foreseeable future. The 70 million stipulated by the ministers' proposals are divided into two parts. The Tourist Site Protection Fund will be tasked with providing up to ISK 35 million to construct footpaths to the eruption site from parking areas. Another 35 million will go to the Environment Agency, which will hire rangers to monitor and protect the area until the 31st of August.

The agreement follows the committee's proposal tasked with the development in the area, which is led by Skarphéðin Berg Steinarsson, director-general of the Tourist Board. The agreement is based on the Environment Agency's assessment in collaboration with the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.

122 million from the Tourist Site Protection Fund

Additional allocations from the Protection Fund can be attributed to capital accumulated due to the fund's canceled and unused grants. The grants, in the total amount of ISK 122 million, will be allocated as follows:

Improved accessibility - ISK 53.7 million

Tourist attractions should be accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly, and others with reduced mobility. Therefore, it is urgent to put increased emphasis on equal access for all. The proposals were prepared in collaboration with a representative of Sjálfsbjörg, the Icelandic Federation of physically disabled people, and the Icelandic Disability Alliance. The work aimed to support projects from all parts of the country, ensuring increased mobility all around the island.

The eruption site in Geldingadalur - 10 million ISK

The municipality Grindavík received a grant to construct a footpath to facilitate people's access to the eruption site in Geldingadalur. Additionally, the grant shall build foundations for facilities and toilets, construct a car park near the footpath, signage, and mark and repair trails for first-responders. The proposal was prepared in consultation with the mayor and the director of Grindavík's environment and planning department.

Other projects - ISK 58.3 million

The Minister has also decided to support seven urgent projects that did not receive funding in the last allocation. The grants go to the following parties:

  • Akureyri for further development of the tourist destination Hrísey.
  • Eyvindartunga for the development of the rest area Kolhóls.
  • Vestmannaeyjar for the planning and design of a hiking trail on Helgafell.
  • Hafnarfjarðarbær for the expansion of parking at Kaldársel.
  • The Cultural Association Tankur for outdoor artwork.
  • The municipality of Blönduós for construction, lighting, and marking at Hrútey.
  • Reykjanes Geopark for the development of a detailed site plan and design for the Þorbjarnarfell rest area.