Preserving Wilderness at an Emerging Tourist Destination

  •  Anna Sæþórsdóttir    


Iceland is an emerging tourist destination with a huge growth in tourist arrivals where wilderness as an important
part of the attraction.But visitors travel into wilderness to experience naturalness and solitude so when
wilderness becomes a popular tourist destination these qualities are difficult to preserve. This research builds on
questionnaire surveys gathered among 3941 travelers at nine areas in the Highlands of Iceland where the aim
was to explore to what extent travelers experience wilderness in the Highlands of Iceland and whether they
experience that the carrying capacity of the destinations in the Highlands has been reached. It furthermore
discusses the possible use limits of wilderness as an arena for tourism.The results show that despite substantial
human influence travelers experience wilderness. Most travelers consider the number of tourists appropriate,
although some warning signs are emerging as 40% of tourists consider that there are too many tourists in one of
the areas. Visitors prefer simplicity and wish to keep the places as natural as possible, with one exception at the
most visited destination. There the attitudes of visitors are more anthropocentric, favoring more humanized
landscape and service. Using wilderness as a tourism product is a very challenging task in an emerging
destination where tourism growth is as fast as it is in Iceland.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4725
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4733
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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