Málþing um skipulag ferðamannastaða.

-4. september 1999 kl. 09:30-16:00
haldið á Akureyri og í Reykjavík


Dagskrá
kl. 09:30 Setning: Páll Skúlason, rektor Háskóla Íslands
kl. 10:00 Skipulag ferðamannastaða - Prófessor Gerda Priestley
kl. 10:45 Umræður og fyrirspurnir.
kl. 11:00 Landsvirkjun sem skipuleggjandi ferðamannastaða - Benedikt Valsson og Birkir Fanndal.
kl. 11:45 Umræður.
kl. 13:00 Áhrif ferðamennsku á menningu og samfélag. Áhrif þess að skipuleggja vilt og ósnortin víðerni. -
Prófessor Valene L. Smith
kl. 13:45 Umræður.
kl. 14:00 Viðhorf ferðaþjónustunnar til skipulags ferðamannastaða. - Þorleifur Þór Jónsson, hagfræðingur SAF.
kl. 15:00 Umræður og málþingi slitið.

Samantekt vegna málþings um skipulag ferðamannastaða

Hér á eftir fer samantekt á því sem fram kom á málþingi um skipulag ferðamannastaða á Íslandi sem haldið var þann 4. september á Akureyri og í Reykjavík.
Fyrst er fjallað um þá þáttakendur sem komu erlendis frá, þær Valene L Smith og Gerdu Priestley, þá fer á eftir dagskrá málþingsins og að lokum eru útdrættir úr erindum málþings ásamt glærum á Powerpoint.

Upplýsingar um Gerdu Priestley
Gerda Priestley er landfræðingur að mennt og starfar sem prófessor í ferðafræðum við Háskólann í Barcelona.
Gerda Priestley kemur hingað til lands á vegum Háskóla Íslands, hún mun kenna við ferðamálanám HÍ ásamt því að kenna við Háskólann á Akureyri, nokkra tíma í haust.
Gerda Priestley hefur rannsakað sérstaklega skipulag ferðamannastaða og áhrif skipulags og óskipulags á ferðamannastaði. Meðal verkefna sem hún hefur unnið er t.d. skipulag ferðaþjónustu í fjallahéruðum Spánar (Regional analysis and sustainable development in mountain areas), þá er hún um þessar mundir að vinna að verkefni er snýr að greiningu og skipulagi óspilltra svæða (Territorial analysis and planning: land use, landscape and sustainable development in protected natural areas). Hún hefur fjallað nokkuð um landnotkun og átök um landnotkun í ferðamennsku (Land use change and conflict in the Bay of Roses, Costa Brava, Glasgow University, Dpt. of Geography and topographic science, 1989) ásamt því að fjalla um sjálfbæra ferðamennsku (Sustainable tourism? European experiences, Wallingford: CAB International 1996). Þar að auki hefur hún gefið út fjölda greina og verið meðhöfundur nokkurra bóka.

Upplýsingar um Valene L Smith
Valene L. Smith er mannfræðiprófessor við California State University í Chico í Bandaríkjunum.
Hún mun taka þátt í málþinginu og kenna við Háskólann á Akureyri ásamt því að veita okkur ráðgjöf við þolmarkarannsóknina. Hún verður einnig ráðgjafi við rannsókn sem Ferðamálaráð Íslands, Náttúruvernd ríkisins og Háskólinn á Akureyri eru að vinna að um þessar mundir. Sú rannsókn snýr að þolmörkum níu íslenskra ferðamannastaða og er styrkt af Markáætlun Rannsóknarráðs Íslands í umhverfismálum og upplýsingatækni. Hún er velþekkt innan ferðafræðinnar sem frumkvöðull í mannfræði ferðamennsku, þ.e. áhrifum ferðamanna og ferðamennsku á samfélög og umhverfi. Þá hefur hún einnig rekið ferðaskrifstofu í Bandaríkjunum í meira en 20 ár og þekkir því vel rekstrarhlið ferðamennskunnar. Hún starfar jöfnum höndum að ráðgjöf, rannsóknum og rekstri ferðaþjónustu. Sérgrein hennar í ráðgjöf er á sviði ferðamennsku á norðlægum slóðum, hvernig heimamenn geta byggt um ferðamennsku þannig að þeir beri mest úr býtum sjálfir, í sátt við umhverfið.

Þekktasta verk hennar er "Hosts and guests, the anthropology of tourism" og er sú bók grundvallarrit um áhrif ferðamennsku á samfélög og umhverfi. Hún hefur sérstaklega lagt sig eftir rannsóknum á ferðamennsku á heimskautasvæðunum. Hún var fyrsti ferðamálafræðingurinn sem skrifaði um ferðamennsku á Suðurskautinu og opnaði augu manna fyrir því að umhverfinu þar gæti stafað hætta af ferðamönnum.

Bókin "People and tourism in fragile environments" er tileinkuð henni. Sú bók er gefin út í samstarfi við Royal Geographical Society. Hún fjallar um ferðamennsku frá sjónarhorni félagsfræði, náttúrufræði og mannfræði og er sjónum beint að áhrifum ferðamennsku, jákvæðum og neikvæðum, á samfélög og umhverfi. Í þeirri bók er viðkvæmt umhverfi (fragile environment) skilgreint á tvennan hátt. Annars vegar það land sem er ofbyggt, s.s. iðnvædd svæði Evrópu og Bandaríkjanna, litlir þjóðgarðar á borð við Yellowstone etc. Hins vegar er viðkvæmt land skilgreint sem þau svæði er enn eru óspillt og óbyggð, s.s. túndrur Kanada, dimmustu regnskógar, heimskautasvæðin og önnur svæði sem liggja utan hins þróaða heims. Hálendi Íslands myndi þá að einhverju leyti flokkast sem slíkt svæði.

Enn aðra bók á hún sem heitir "Tourism alternatives; potentials and problems in the development of tourism".Í þeirri bók er meðal annars fjallað um samfélög sem skipta beint úr landbúnaði yfir í ferðaþjónustu án hins hefðbundna millistigs iðnaðar og framleiðslu.

Að auki hefur hún skrifað fjöldann allan af greinum í fræðitímarit og yfirlitsverk um ferðamennsku og unnið að rannsóknum frá því snemma á áttunda áratugnum (Hosts and guests kom fyrst út árið 1978).

Sérþekking þessarra vísindamanna er á heimsmælikvarða. Þær eru virtar sem fræðimenn og kennarar en ekki síður eru þær með á nótunum hvað varðar þekkingu á rekstrarumhverfi ferðaþjónustunnar og þeim vandamálum sem rekstraraðilar glíma við.

Heimsóknir þeirra til ferðaþjónustuaðila hafa tvíþættan tilgang. Annars vegar að þær kynnist íslenskri ferðaþjónustu og hvað rekstraraðilar glíma við í sínu umhverfi. Hins vegar að miðla af reynslu sinni sem fræðimenn og ráðgjafar.
Þær búa að því að geta litið á viðfangsefnin frá sjónarhóli fræðimanns og frá sjónarhóli rekstraraðila.


Nálgun Valene L. Smith
Hér á eftir fer stutt greinargerð Valene L. Smith. Greinargerðin lýsir vel viðhorfum Valene til þess að veita ráðgjöf og með hvaða hugarfari hún nálgast viðfangsefni sín.

"References to the "ivory tower" of academia are not uncommon, and indeed I share some of that concern: that far too many professors live in a never-never world of theory (which has its place) without ever having experienced the "real world" of business, faced the so-called "bottom line" of payroll and profit.
I admit to being unusual in having had an active role in tourism development -
I owned a travel agency for twenty years (Jet-Age Travel Service), initially in North Hollywood, Calif in partnership with Rudy Stadelmann, a Swiss( who is still in business under that name). When I moved to Chico, I brought my half interest in the business, and bought out my partner, and built the business here from nothing, to US$1.5 million gross, with the reputation of "the best travel agency in northern California". I wisely sold it when when domestic airlines deregulated, as it was evident that profitability would decline. Then, the business was worth 10% of gross; in today's market, no agency is worth more than 3% of gross. I DO fully understand, from practical side, what it takes to develop a tourist business, marketing, reaching a market niche, etc. When I sold the business, I did not leave the travel industry but took on new status as "outside salesperson"; I still do some day-to-day work and group tours. I have always felt that I could NOT teach tourism unless I kept up-to-date on the trade side of the issues, current trends, etc.
Second, combining my own experience and academia, I have written itineraries and escorted tour groups all over the world - again, it is understanding what the public wants, and will do, that makes that a success. My tours are always full to capacity: I am going to India in October - the tour was supposed to be limited to 20 but we are 23...I had a group tour to Iceland in l981 (we also took the coastal ferry service on Narsarssuaq to Umanaq, flying from Keflavik). I have been twice to Akureyri for one day air tours.
I cannot promise miracles but I would not have accepted the invitation unless I felt I could be of service: in assessing the potentials, and thinking about the best way to develop them that will create employment and income. It is not only your product but to whom do you wish to market it? There are different types of audiences, and some are definitely better than others.......
I am just finishing the new Hosts and Guests: Tourism Issues of the 21st Century - quite different from the first but retains some of the data on Inuit tourism, with the comment that the Kotzebue tour is "the best operation in the North". Why?
1) it has a regional, circular focus with diversity for participants - arctic habitat, indigenous culture, Gold rush history (Nome) and opportunity to pan for gold, dog sled ride, indigenous crafts to buy, and in-flight views of Mt Denali, highest peak in North America, and of the Alaska Range, and midnight sun. All that in 2 days for US$495?
2) But no one would fly to Alaska just to DO that...instead because they are IN Alaska on a vacation, 6000 tourists DID fly to Kotzebue in l998.
3) The local residents did benefit from the added income, and they also own and manage the tourism industry (but market through a commercial firm).
I think you already know most of my writings: 4 Special Issues of Annals of Tourism Research (Tourism Development, Domestic Tourism, Pilgrimage Tourism and Antarctic Tourism).
I love the kind of scenery Iceland has to offer (my BA and MA in geography are a strong background to the appreciation of Mother Nature, glaciation, vulcanology). I understand the heritage - my mother's family has been traced to the 12th century and Viking origins in northern Germany).
I've done tourism development on contract for World Tourism Organization (my chapter in Tourism Alternatives on Boracay is an example, and in light of my concerns, it is pertinent to point out that in l997 the Philippine Dept. of Health found that the entire Bay off Boracay was unsafe due to coliform - and tourism dropped 70%. Belatedly, the government is FINALLY facing reality, installing waterlines and sewer)".

I have encountered the resistance to academics and personally condemn the so-called "experts" who fly into Arctic villages for a "know-it-all" one day tourism meeting with little or no background on the travel industry, its functions, marketing, etc. I try to be more sensitive to the broader picture because I personally have experienced the issues of making a living from tourism.
--
Valene L. Smith
Adjunct Research Professor, Anthropology
California State University
Chico CA 95929-0400, USA
Phone: 530-891-1155
FAX: 530-345-3881
it@vsmith@csuchico.edu
www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~vsmith


Útdrættir úr framsöguerindum á málþingi um skipulag ferðamannastaða

•Málþing um skipulag ferðamannastaða laugardaginn
4. september kl. 9.30 - 16.00

Ferðamálaráð Íslands, Háskólinn á Akureyri, Stofnun Vilhjálms Stefánssonar og Háskóli Íslands standa fyrir málþingi um skipulag ferðamannastaða. Framsögumenn á málþinginu eru prófessor Valene L. Smith, prófessor Gerda Priestley, Þorleifur Þór Jónsson hagfræðingur SAF og Benedikt Valsson ásamt Birki Fanndal stöðvarstjóra Kröfluvirkjunar. Fundarstjóri er Bjarni Hjarðar deildarstjóri rekstrardeildar Háskólans á Akureyri og málþingið setur dr. Páll Skúlason rektor Háskóla Íslands.

Málþinginu verður varpað um fjarfundabúnað milli Akureyrar og Reykjavíkur og fer fram í sal Endurmenntunarstofnunnar Háskóla Íslands í Reykjavík og í fjarfundasal Háskólans á Akureyri við Þingvallastræti. Skráning í síma 525-4923.
Aðgangseyrir er kr. 2000 (kr. 1000 fyrir stúdenta gegn framvísun skólaskírteinis). Öllum er heimill aðgangur.

•Gerda K. Priestley, M.A., Ph.D.°
Senior Lecturer , Department of Geography and
Director of Academic Planning, School of Tourism,
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona,
Barcelona, Spain.
E-mail: gerda.priestley@campus.uab.es

•Benedikt Karl Valdimarsson Landsvirkjun og Birkir Fanndal stöðvarstjóri Kröfluvirkjunar
Stefnumið Landsvirkjunar í tengslum við ferðaþjónustu og samstarf við ferðaþjónustuaðila.
The goal of Landsvirkjun in tourism and co-operation with tourism entrepreneurs

Ferðaþjónusta og rafmagnsframleiðsla fara vel saman. Harvesting electrical energy and tourism go well together

Virkjunum fylgja miklar framkvæmdir og því eru í tengslum við þær lagðir vegir að svæðunum sem virkja skal. Sagan sýnir okkur hvernig virkjanir á Íslandi bæta aðgengi ferðamanna að svæðum sem áður voru einangruð. As powerplants require intensive construction work, roads are built to the relevant sites. History shows us how dams in Iceland can improve access of tourists to araeas otherwise inaccessible.

Með fleiri virkjunum innar á hálendinu hefur aðgengi almennings að því batnað og nú er svo komið að malbikaður vegur liggur alla leið að Þórisvatni. As powerplants grow in number in the interior of Iceland, so has the publics access improved, to the point where the public can now drive on paved roads all the way to lake Þórisvatn.


Rannsóknir á áhrifum virkjana á ferðamennsku
Research on the impact of powerplant on tourism

Niðurstaða Önnu Dóru og Norðmannsins Teiglands sem vann að rannsóknum í Aurlandsdal er sú að ákveðinn mjög takmarkaður hópur hættir að sækja svæðin og færir sig um set en mun stærri hópur kemur á svæðin í hans stað, akandi eða í skipulögðum hópferðum. Með nýjum hópum og breyttri samsettningu ferðamanna aukast kröfur um þjónustu. Þetta samræmist hugmyndum ferðaþjónustunnar hér á landi en ekki hugmyndum úr nýju skipulagi miðhálendisins sem beinir þjónustunni frá hálendinu.

Research concludes that a limitied segment ceases to visit the areas in question, but a considerably larger segment of the tourist market enter in it´s place, in automobiles or coaches. As we move from one market segment to another, demand for higher quality services increases. This is in key with the ideas of tourism entrepreneurs but is not in key with recent planning of the interior as put forth by government institutions where in services are directed from the interior to it´s periphery.

Árið 1995 gerði Félagsvísindastofnun Háskólans könnun fyrir Landsvirkjun á virðhorfi ferðamanna til ferðalaga um hálendið. Um 90% þeirra sem ferðast höfðu um Þjórsár/Tungnaársvæðið, stærsta virkjanasvæði Íslands, töldu að uppistöðulón og önnur mannvirki á svæðinu hefðu jákvæð eða engin áhrif á upplifun þeirra.

In 1995 the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Iceland surveyed tourists on their opinions of travelling in the interior. Approx. 90% of those who had travelled int the Þjórsár/Tungnaársvæðið (southern part of the interior) the single largest area developed for power plants and dams, claimed that reservoirs and other manmade structures did not affect their experience in a negative way.

Helstu rökin gegn virkjunum hljóta að vera þau að eitt útiloki annað. Þ.e. að í okkar tilviki fái virkjanir og ferðamennska ekki þrifist saman. Reynslan sýnir okkur að þetta er ekki raunin, ferðmennska og raforkuframleiðsla þrífast vel saman í sátt og samlyndi.

Primary reasons against electrical harvesting must be that one excludes the other. That in our case, powerplant and tourism will not flourish simoultaneously. Experience shows us that this is not the fact, tourism and hydroelectrical energy production go hand in hand.


Hrein ímynd Íslands
Iceland´s pure image
Raforkuframleiðsla á Íslandi getur verið mikilvægt framlag til ímyndar Íslands sem hreins lands og að Íslendingar geti borið höfuðið hátt í þessum efnum

Iceland´s hydroelectrical powerproduction can be an important contribution to the image of Iceland as a pure country and that Icelanders can stand proud in these matters.


Við viljum efla skilning ferðamanna
We want to increase the tourist´s understanding.

Við höfum ákveðin boðskap og honum viljum við koma á framfæri. Því viljum við fá fólk á virkjunarsvæði og í heimsókn til okkar. Þar er samstarfsvettvangur við ferðaþjónustuna

We have a message to deliver. Therefore we want people to visit our construction sites. That is where we wish to co-operate with tourism entrepreneurs.

Ný mannvirki
New constructions

Í framtíðinni mun hönnun orkumannvirkja snúast í auknum mæli um það hvernig fólk getur nýtt sér mannvirkin og umhverfi þeirra

In the future the design of powerstations will focus more on how people can visit and enjoy the sites and their surroundings.

Bjarnaflagsvirkjun hefur fengist samþykkt frá Alþingi en er þó háð mati á umhverfisáhrifum og ýmsum sérákvæðum um náttúruvernd á Mývatnssvæðinu.

In Lake Myvatn area the plans of the proposed site at Bjarnarflag have been aggreed upon by the natioanl assembly, but is yet to undergo a formal environmental evaluation process which must meet certain specific criteria regarding protection of the natural environment in the lake Myvatn area.

Eldri mannvirki og núverandi virkjunarsvæði

Previous sites and present
-Starfsfólk Landsvirkjunar hefur tekið að sér að bæta aðgengi ferðamannastaða eins og til dæmis við Hjálparfoss, Stöng og Þjóðveldisbæinn í Þjórsárdal og Leirhnjúk og Víti ofan Kröflustöðvar..

- The employees at Landsvirkjun have improved access to several tourist destinations surrounding the sites.

-Árið 2000 verða listsýningar í tveimur stöðvum Landsvirkjunar, Ljósafossstöð og Laxárstöð III. Skírskotun sýninganna er menning og náttúra. Með endurbótum í Ljósafossstöð hefur orðið til rými sem í framtíðinni verður nýtt til alls kyns sýninga af þessu tagi.

-In the year 2000 two art exhibitions will be held in two of present stations. The theme of the exhibitions is nature and culture. With renovations in Ljosafoss powerstation space has been added to the premises which will be used in the future for exhibitions of this kind.

-Bendum á útivistarmöguleika
Gefinn verður út nýr bæklingur um Laxárstöðvar en í honum verður lögð sérstök áhersla á útivist og gönguleiðir á svæðinu. Unnið í samstarfi við ferðaþjónustuaðila og landeigendur á svæðinu.

-Outdoor and recreational possibilities.
A brochure which will outline the outdoors and hiking trails in the area will be issued in close co-operation with tourism entrepreneurs and landowners in the area.

-Við Hrauneyjafossstöð tekur Landsvirkjun þátt í undirbúningi að byggingu fræðastofu um hálendið. Unnið í samvinnu við sveitarfélög, ferðaþjónustuaðila, atvinnuþróunarsjóð, opinberar rannsóknar- og menntastofnanir og einkaaðila.

-At Hrauneyjarfoss station, an educational centre on the interior is being set up by Landsvirkjun in co-operation with local authorities, tourism entreprenuers, regional development funds, public research and educational institutions as well as private businesses.


Við höfum ekki eingöngu í hyggju að tefla fram stöðvum okkar sem áhugaverðum áningarstöðum heldur viljum við benda fólki sem til okkar kemur á þá möguleika sem hvert svæði hefur upp á að bjóða um leið og við komum okkar boðskap á framfæri. Þannig geta Landsvirkjun og ferðaþjónustan átt góða samvinnu við að byggja upp ákveðin landssvæði sem ferðamannasvæði

Not only do we intend develop our stations as interesting tourist destinations, but we also wish to point out the range of possibilities each area has to offer. At the same time we wish to deliver our message. That is how Landsvirkjun and tourism can work together in developing certain areas as attractive tourist destinations.

Birkir Fanndal Haraldsson
Chief Engineer
Kröfluvirkjun
660 Mývatnssveit
birkir@lv.is
Tel.: +354-464-8203

Landsvirkjun vision on how to interact with the tourism industry is not quite clear and under evaluation at the moment. Therefor I will concentrate on how we deal with the subject at Krafla where I work, how our working place is connected to the tourism industry and how we deal with different aspects of the interaction between these two industries.

APPEARANCE

For the goodwill of the local inhabitants and the rest of the nation we realise the importance of using the nature resources carefully and to make a good appearance. We try to "repair" all damages caused to the nature and environment in the building process in a way that fits in with the rest of the surroundings so that the outlook of the power plant does not hurt the visitors' eye.
To have access to employees in the area it is also important that we support the creation of new job opportunities.

ACCESSIBILITY

Geology, beautiful landscape and nature in the Krafla and Bjarnarflag area are of great interest to tourists. In connection with the power plants in these areas new roads have been built which in return gives tourist better access.
We try to haste the building of new roads to make them accessible as soon as possible and to keep them comfortable to drive.

INFORMATION

At Krafla we had regular opening hours for the first time last summer. The power plant was open for visitors Monday - Friday from 0930 - 1600. We have also tried to service groups at other hours according to different needs. In addition to guided tours one could watch an information video about the volcanic activity in the area and the building of the Krafla power plant. We also offer a small brochure to take away with information about the power plant. There are also toilet facilities in the reception. The response has been very good and the number of visitors was around 700 in 1998 and is close to 2000 this year:

SERVICE

We also think it is important to participate in improving the service facilities at our closest tourist destinations. For example we contribute to the building of new footpaths and service building at Leirhnjukur and a parkingplace at Viti. Further our participation in putting up bathing facilities is under discussion in connection with the building of a new power plant in Bjarnarflag. This new power plant will also most likely be designed for guided tours.


We hope that architecture, clean, well kept and attractive surroundings as well as careful use of natural resources can increase the goodwill of our company and help people to understand the importance of power plants for the national production.


Valene Smith
California State University - Chico
PLANNING and TOURISM
DEVELOPMENT
IMPORTANT ISSUES

•Þorleifur Þór Jónsson
Economist for the Iceland travel industry association
Planning and organization of Tourist destinations in Iceland.
The view of the Iceland Travel Industry Association
Samtök ferðaþjónustunnar (abbreviated SAF)

As a recent master plan of the central highland has been approved it is clear that land use in the central highland has been decided upon in its most basic form.

As SAF was not formed at the time this plan was introduced the Association did not take part in devising it but the voice of the Industry was heard through individual companies and through the Icelandic Tourist Board.
SAF intends to play a leading role in further development of the more detailed zone plans where individual areas are planned. SAF has formed a definite position on environmental matters and that includes a strong stand on the need for planning of tourist destinations with the long-term interest of the tour operator as the major issue.

SAF realizes that without proper planning and buildup of infrastructure many of the places attracting tourists to Iceland will be destroyed and although some new areas might be developed that is not a viable option for the Tourism industry in the long run.
The topic will be addressed in the following order.
A brief assessment on the impact of tourists on
1. The local population - minimal
2. The environment
- In built up areas - small
- In the highland - large.
The view of SAF regarding payment for this development.


The impact of tourism on the local population.
In Iceland this has been minimal as a vast number of the population are seasoned travelers them self and regard the tourist in general as nothing of a phenomena. Comparing earlier anthropological studies of the impact of tourism with the situation in Iceland shows that this is not a subject of concern. In few cases there have been displays of up old traditions for tourists either in museums or by arranging festivals as the Herring festival in Siglufjörður. In general there are other cultural influences brought by television and other media that will have more impact on the Icelandic culture than tourism.

The impact of tourism on built up areas.
In general the impact of tourism is no greater on populated areas than any other industry. Regarding planning there is a full need for organization of those natural places that are the main attraction to visitors. Some, like Gullfoss waterfall are now in danger of serious damage due to constantly increasing number of tourists arriving without the necessary steps taken to prevent damage to the adjacent area. The same situation is repeated on a number of locations where lack of funding has led often too serious damage and eroding quality of the destinations. Site planning is required too a number of areas so that proper arrangements can be made regarding the problems arising with the arrival of large groups. Things like parking for busses, WC facilities, safety and so on needs to be taken into account.

The impact of tourism in highland areas.
SAF made a resolution on its first annual general meeting that every effort is to be made to preserve the central highland as an unspoiled wilderness. Effort should be made to utilize the present structures in the highland, in stead of building new ones. The emphasis should be on the development of facilities on the edges of the central highland. Certain infrastructure is required in the center highland to accommodate small hiking groups and similar. SAF looks at this, as basic service that is necessary but further development should not be encouraged. At the moment there are some 60 to 80 huts in the central highland of which 44 report overnight guest figures to the Statistical Bureau (28 huts and 18 campsites). There must be a possibility to make better use of all these buildings.
The development of tourism in the center highland is already past the peak traffic that appears too have been around 1990. Since then a significant reduction has occurred in overnight stays in the highland, both as relative numbers, but even more as percentage of total guest nights. These can be seen in the following chart that is based on figures from the Statistical Bureau.

 

The reason for this development is believed to be threefold.
1. The buildup of tourism centers at the edges where service and facilities are much better than in the highland.
2. Those places that are not offering attractions - mainly in the form of some activity, but were traditionally conveniently located resting-places, are being made obsolete with improved roads and vehicles.
3. The lack of development in existing places, mainly due to a misguided natural protection view and perhaps overzealous camp guards that view natural preservation above service to visitors.
So in many places planning and development is coming up to 10 years to late.
Examples: In 1986 Herðurbreiðarlindir had 7.524 guest nights, in 1998 they were 2.973. Landmannalaugar had as early as 1979 15.843 guest nights, in 1990 the guest nights were 21.887 but in 1996 they were down to 15.009.

SAF supports preservation

SAF strongly supports the preservation of the highland. Unspoiled it is not and at best we can try to stop the damage done by unplanned development and misguided nature protection. Misguided in the sense that rather to take action and through development minimize the damage done by overuse, let the place remain "natural" but worse off.

The long-term interest of the tourism industry is keeping the present natural attractions as unspoiled as possible, but necessary developments must often be carried out in order to maintain the attractability of the location.
Conclusions
SAF is adamant in that entry fees to tourist sites are not acceptable. Payment for services rendered are in order and local communities can of course put money in development of natural attractions in the community, but in general SAF regards it as a role of the government to fund planning and development of tourist attractions in Iceland. The role of the Tourist industry is providing service and those both local and national authorities tax service.

 

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