Iceland Plays The Tourism Card, For Better For Worse

Iceland plays the tourism card, for better for worse

REYKJAVIK, Dec 6, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 06th Dec, 2016 ) - An island of ice and lava battered by the Arctic winds, Iceland's dramatic and pristine landscape is attracting a growing number of tourists, not all of whom are respectful of the fragile ecosystem. Along with hikers, nature lovers, reality tv starlets and fans of the series "Game of Thrones" which was partially filmed in Iceland, 1.3 million tourists visited the country in 2015, a number expected to rise to 1.

8 million this year. Long a destination that appealed only to the earliest ecotourists and fans of the eccentric singer Bjork, this small nation of 330,000 inhabitants is now reaping the benefits of a thriving tourism sector. Since the 2008 collapse of Iceland's financial system, tourism has become a pillar of the economy, accounting for seven percent of gross domestic product in 2015. But why are tourists thronging to this remote island, described so darkly in the recent wave of "Ice-lit" crime novels ? "It's a place of fire and ice. You can see different things everywhere: geysers, glaciers, volcanoes. Things that you don't normally see in other places in the world," says Marcelle Lindopp, a 28-year-old Brazilian thrilled by her stay despite a glacial rain lashing her face. "It's the experience of a lifetime, really."