Stay tuned right here for our Iceland Airwaves 2015 radio documentary, which will air on WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago (live stream here) in the near future. In the meantime, check out one of the during audio stories the students produced below and check out previews, reviews and more on our Iceland Airwaves 2015 home page.
When thinking of Iceland, you might picture raw nature. Maybe waterfalls, glaciers, puffins, the Golden Circle or Northern Lights. People often come to visit one of the largest wildernesses in Europe. According to Icelandic Tourism Board’s Örn Þór Halldórsson, in the ’70s and ’80s, most of the tourist population were hippies. As tourism grows, Iceland continues to attract tourists seeking clean nature.
Almost one million people visited Iceland last year. Much like the rest of the world, Iceland’s experiencing its own environmental issues. The country’s trying to balance tourism growth and its effect on the landscape. Örn Þór Halldórsson is the Environmental Manager for the Icelandic Tourist Board. He says tourism has been on the rise.
Iceland’s dealing with environmental problems as they arise. With tourist numbers booming, a policy was proposed to encourage visits to other destinations besides the most popular. The goal is to reduce impact in high-risk areas. René Biasone is from the Department of Nature at The Environment Agency of Iceland. He agrees there needs to be a solution, but says it will contradict another law.
Most visitors don’t mean to damage nature while exploring, but without boundaries, Biasone says harm is being done.
The policy is one suggestion of many for how to move forward. There’s still a lot of discussion on what approach to take to collect necessary funding for the right protection. Right now Iceland’s wilderness is completely open and free of charge. Anyone can visit and traverse how they like. Looking for ways to control the flow of visitors to natural destinations is an ultimate goal.
For WCRX, this is Shannon Elder.
For the fully produced audio story, listen below.