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Great emphasis is placed on the importance of sustainable development in the Icelandic tourism sector, this is no less true for tourism in South Iceland.

What is sustainable development?Sustainability

Sustainable development is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition, sustainable development is about increasing economic value while maintaining the quality of nature and the long-term human rights of all the world's inhabitants.

It is important that tourism, which creates economic value, develops at the same time in harmony with society and nature. In this context, it is necessary to increase the quality of tourism and strengthen tolerance limits on natures carrying capacity, communities, and tourists.

When the results of the Destination Management Plan for the South were being drawn up, the data was quickly divided into three categories, society, tourism, and nature. These three factors are exactly the three main pillars of sustainability, the environment, society, and the economy. It is therefore important to always look for a balance between these three pillars.

Tourism needs to balance society and nature so that existing resources (nature and culture) are not depleted as well as not reduced for the coming future. For example, the protection of nature must be considered in such a way that it does not permanently damage the way people treat nature and social responsibility so that society benefits from the activities that the tourism industry offers. In addition, it is important that governments, like municipalities, are encouraged to work on sustainable projects through waste management, walking, and cycling paths, and a variety of services, culture, and recreation that consider the different statuses and needs of the population. It is also important to ensure society's access to its resources and maximize their yields while at the same time utilizing them responsibly with sustainability as a guiding principle, and therefore local people have a great responsibility. Sustainable development is also directly linked to the value chain of the community, to create as much value as possible in the area for the benefit of the community.

Tourism has a key role in working with sustainability, including the need to consider environmental policy regarding transport, accommodation, food, and places of interest, better tourism policy with an emphasis on sustainability, and use of technology to better manage the flow of visitors.

Visitors and sustainability

It is not only important that tourism companies, municipalities, and residents consider factors to increase the area's sustainability, including waste sorting, utilization of raw materials from the local area, and shopping in the local area as much as possible, visitors to the area are also important in the sustainability chain. Guests can contribute by:

    • Stay longer in the area visited.
      • Take advantage of local accommodation, entertainment, and restaurants.
      • Shop for local products, souvenirs, and handicrafts as examples.
    • Use reusable bottles and refill with clean, fresh, Icelandic water instead of buying water in disposable bottles.
    • Take all rubbish with you, sort it and throw it away in a suitable place. Familiarize yourself with the recycling in each area.
      • Use multi-use options instead of single-use where appropriate.
    • Respect nature, wildlife, and flora, among other things, by following footpaths and marked trails.
      • Respect nature reserves where access is prohibited, such as bird nesting areas.
      • Do not walk on moss.
      • Beware of natural hazards.
      • Do not drive off-road.
    • Respect Icelandic laws and regulations regarding where to stay in tents.
    • Choose tourism companies that work on quality issues and have received recognition for their professionalism.
    • Take the Icelandic Pledge