Iceland's Central Highland

Organized by: Hálendið, Iceland National Park in cooperation with the Icelandic Environment Association and Iceland Nature Conservation Association 29. July 2016

The Icelandic Central Highland, in the periphery of the Arctic Circle, forms one of the largest territories in Europe which has never been inhabited or cultivated. The area is considered one of the last great wildernesses in Europe.

The aesthetic natural variety that unfolds in a few days trip in the Icelandic central highland is quite unique: Glaciers, glacial rivers, glacially sculpted landscapes, barren plateaus with an endless view, colorful geothermal areas, clear springs, lava fields, steep and odd shaped mountains and mountain rigs, permafrost areas, and beautifully colored tundra vegetation. Therefore, it is no wonder that over 80% of foreign tourists travelling to Iceland say that Icelandic nature is their main reason for visiting Iceland. Also, 50% mention that they want to experience Icelandic wilderness.

These values include both use values such as tourism/resources and so-called non-use values -- knowing that future generations will have the option of enjoying the highland (bequest value) or simply knowing that the highland exists unimpaired, even though one will never see it (existence value).

This breakout session, "The Central Highland: Brand Capital of Icelandic Nature," will discuss both these forms of values attributed to the Icelandic central highland in a fruitful discussion concerning the area.