Sensitive Northern Destinations: Tourism Management and Tourist Dispersion

Organized by EFLA Consulting Engineers 19. September 2016

Saturday, October 8, 15:30-17:00

Location: Hafnarkot, Harpa First Level

Tourism is a growing source of economic and social benefits in the North, but when a sparsely populated area experiences exponential growth in tourism in only a few years, the infrastructure, safety issues and area management are often found lacking.

Arctic nature is spectacular and a common draw for tourists, but it is likewise sensitive and slow to recover from being overrun. Local authorities and land owners frequently find themselves in a flurry of hurried activities attempting to deal with the growing numbers, sometimes resulting in better control and nature protection, but sometimes not.

Core issues include who is responsible for funding varied necessary actions aimed to control the tourist flow and protect nature. Meanwhile, tourists face various dangers and inconveniences due to lacking infrastructure, such as information, safety measures and toilet facilities. In this breakout session, various aspects of these issues will be discussed, case studies presented and possible options reviewed, with expert solution case studies from the US and Iceland.


  • Nathan Reigner, Consultant, RSG Inc.: Maximizing the Benefits and Minimizing the Impacts of Tourism with Indicator-Based Adaptive Planning and Management.
  • Eva Dís Þórðardóttir, Specialist in planning, EIA: Possible Solution for Sustainable Tourism in the Westfjords.
  • Böðvar Tómasson, Specialist in Risk Management and Safety: Dangerous trip to Iceland? - Risk Management in the Tourism Industry.
  • Þórður H. Ólafsson, Managing Director, Vatnajökull National Park: Vatnajökull National Park – Increased Need for Infrastructure and Improved Nature Conservation Measures.