Recently in Iceland, private companies and the government have been trying to cope with the massive surge in tourism happening in Iceland in recent years.
The newest trend is to charge for parking at tourist locations to manage its flow to a certain extent and to generate some income for investing in and managing the infrastructure required to support Iceland‘s tourism expansion in a more sustainable way.
There seems to be a lack of coherence in the way this is being done.
The execution seems random, with both foreign tourists and domestic visitors asked to pay equally, and there have been problems in collecting the fees, as not all common credit and debit cards are accepted.
There are also other models in countries with strong in-bound tourism that could be more effective.
In Holland, where I live, it is possible for both tourists and locals to buy museum cards. A city or region‘s museum card allows pre-paid into participating museums, parks and attractions in for a set fee. Tourists will opt for cards aligning with their length of stay, and residents can opt for annual cards that are cheaper on a per-use basis.
Iceland should do the same. A card offering parking at the most famous tourist attractions, entrance fee for selected museums and perhaps even discounts on camping, cafés or restaurants can be sold to tourists and residents. They can then display their validated cards as parking passes, or have them scanned at museums and restaurants.
This would save money for administration, especially as such cards can be bought online, on flights and at airports. It would also help align Iceland‘s management of tourism in a manner compatible with being a top-class European destination that is capable of meeting the expectation of the sophisiticated customer it wants to attract.
I am throwing this idea to the universe and am sure I am not the first one to think of this possibility.
Helga Kristin Fridjonsdottir – Founder and owner of Iceland Unwrapped by helgastina