Anyone anticipating the last season of Game of Thrones as much as I am?

Game of Thrones, an ambitious 8-season long series distributed by HBO, is known for its diverse filming locations. Croatia doubles as King’s Landing. Principal filming took place in and around Northern Ireland. And Iceland doubles as the land Beyond the Wall. As the series progressed, the cast and crew have ventured to other locations to film as well.

Oliver Smith, the Digital Travel Editor for the Telegraph, writes that Game of Thrones can be “cited as a key factor behind the remarkable growth in annual visitors to Iceland, from 566,000 in 2011, the year it premiered, to more than 1 million in 2015.” The numbers have only increased year-over-year, with an estimated 2.5 million visitors to Iceland in 2018.

The island’s inhabitants only number 320,000.

Like it’s Nordic neighbors, Iceland believes in the philosophy of the freedom to roam, which encompasses a deep respect for the natural environment and gives everyone the right to explore the outdoors.

Ivar Eythorsson, a Nomadict member and one of Iceland’s 300,000 inhabitants, regrets not going out to explore his backyard before the tourism boom hit Iceland. In a recent interview he did with us, he said “I think I lost the opportunity to enjoy Iceland at its best. The last five to six years tourism has grown quite significantly, changing the old dynamic of the country.”

Malissa Ahlin writes, “I think with time as tourism grew in Iceland, anymore these days a huge part of the influx is people wanting to “Keep Up with the Joneses” more than their desire to actually visit due to any personal interest in the country or culture.”

Malissa Ahlin writes, “I think with time as tourism grew in Iceland, anymore these days a huge part of the influx is people wanting to “Keep Up with the Joneses” more than their desire to actually visit due to any personal interest in the country or culture.”

Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir from Promote Iceland says, “Iceland has become a well known destination in recent years by a combination of factors. One could be attributed to Game of Thrones since we experience a very strong interest related to Iceland being one of the key locations for the tv series. There are special Game of Thrones tours that are very popular in Iceland, both in the North and the South of Iceland.”

While Game of Thrones has attracted thousands of visitors to the island over the past five years, it [the series] has “had next to zero impact on tourism in Iceland,” according to traveler Katherine Freeland. Sven Stumann chimed in and said, “But the intrent [sic] in GOT is slowing down now.”

According to Kristín Hávarðsdóttir, from the east coast of Iceland, there has been some negative effects to the landscapes and hotspots. “[There has been] less respect for our nature, more trash on the ground,” for example.

What draws visitors to Iceland, whether or not they are everyday travelers or travel influencers, are the stunning landscapes, the culture, and history – perhaps even the affordable flights from airlines helps too. According to Eythorsson, interest in Iceland began to rise after the 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull disrupted air travel around Europe for almost a week.

Icelanders highly value their environment. With approximately 80% of the island uninhabited, the diverse geographic landscapes from mountains and waterfalls to glaciers and hot springs inspire visitors from around the world to explore the ever-changing environment on the island.

However, with the recent tourism boom, visitors need to be aware of, and respect, the natural environment. Recently Iceland developed a campaign pledge to encourage responsible travel throughout Iceland.

Guðmundsdóttir continues, “The Icelandic pledge is an ongoing campaign aimed at encouraging responsible travel. Icelandic nature is both spectacular and fragile and we want to ask our guests to help us preserve it. The Icelandic Pledge consists of eight points that highlight how one can travel around Iceland and be responsible. Visitors that are coming to Iceland can sign the Icelandic Pledge online at www.icelandicpledge.is or press the Icelandic Pledge button when they arrive at Keflavík airport in the arrival hall. Today over fifty five thousand have made the pledge and other destinations are introducing similar campaigns based on the Icelandic Pledge, such as New Zealand and Hawaii which we are very happy about.”

Consider taking the Icelandic Pledge before you travel to Iceland and join the thousands in the community of responsible travelers. The fabled Land of Fire and Ice is the perfect place for your next adventure!

To read the original article on www.nomadict.org, click here.

Please follow and like us: