Managers of many travel agencies in Iceland are not happy with the fees that now are charged at Geysir Geothermal Area. The location is one of the most popular places to visit among tourists. Many tourists choose not to pay, and simply watch from a distance or don't stop at all.
An employee at a café next to the area said that there was a large increase in the number of customers on the day that the fee was implemented. Many people don't want to pay the fee, which is considered quite steep, and choose to grab a cup of coffee instead.
Þórir Garðarsson, marketing manager at Iceland Excursions, says that some of the tourists don't even leave the bus during the stop at the geothermal area. He said that the tourists were not encouraged to stay inside to bus, in order to protest. The tourists simply were not interested in paying the entrance fee.
One of the land owners of the geothermal area said that they collected around €3200 that day. Þórir said that around 2000 people visited the area that day and since the fee is €4 per person this tells us that only 40% of those who visited the area actually payed the fee.
The land owners say that charging this fee is required to maintain the area, build paths and pay for garbage bins. The government is a part owner of the land and has stated that they are against the fee. The government is implementing a special nature pass, that will be relatively cheap, and will give you access to all the major tourist attractions in Iceland. The government tried to stop the land owners from charging the fee, but the request was denied and so the matter will likely be settled in court. The fee will be charged at least until the matter has been settled.
On that one day the land owners collected €3200, multiply that by 365 and you get a whole lot of paths and garbage bins.