Some travel companies distribute videos showing off-road driving in Iceland and poor treatment of nature, according to Andrés Arnalds, a project manager for the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland. He calls this a deplorable tourism promotion, RÚV reports.
Numerous travel companies, Icelandic as well as foreign, offer 4x4 or ATV tours around the country. Videos of such trips are frequently distributed online, sometimes showing reckless treatment of nature.
The Environment Agency of Iceland recently sent the police a promotional video from a foreign company offering 4x4 trips in the highlands, because the video shows what the agency calls intentional off-road driving. All off-road driving is illegal in Iceland.
Andrés told RÚV that much is done to try to prevent such reckless behavior, but he calls for ethical rules and clearer codes of conduct for those who are out in nature.
All too often, the travel industry or people who have traveled with them distribute videos showing illegal, or quite undesirable, conduct, Andrés stated. You also see this on some company websites. “There is off-road driving, climbing in sensitive craters. There is the whole gamut, you name it,” he lamented.
“Frequently, car ads suggest that anything is permissible; that you may drive off-road,” he stated. Even banks take part in this game, he added, with one of them using a photoshopped picture, suggesting you can drive right up to the geysers.
“From nature’s point of view, this is one of the most deplorable tourism promotions thinkable,” Andrés said and concluded that the beauty of Iceland, or the places affected, will quickly fade if hundreds of people behave this irresponsibly.