Justin Bieber Blamed for Tourist Influx to Iceland Canyon, Forcing Its Closure
Is it too late now to say sorry?
An Iceland canyon has recently been closed to the public over concerns that the scenic location has been negatively impacted by a significant influx of visitors since it was featured in a Justin Bieber music video in 2015.
Blaming Bieber for the tourism spike, agency official Daníel Freyr Jónsson told Icelandic news outlet RUV that not many people outside of Iceland knew about the destination prior to the music video, according to Lonely Planet.
“This canyon was somewhat unknown,” he said. “But I think Icelanders have known about it a lot longer. The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase of 50 percent to 80 percent between 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
According to The Telegraph, 150,000 tourists visited the canyon in 2017, and the number increased to 282,000 the following year. To date, Bieber’s music video has been viewed over 440 million times.
The Environment Agency of Iceland initially planned on keeping Fjaðrárgljúfur closed for two weeks in order to allow for the paths and vegetation around the canyon a chance to improve, according to the Lonely Planet.
After it became apparent the two-week closure did not have the intended effect, the decision was made to keep the canyon closed until June 1.
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However, Inga Hlin Palsdottir, director of tourism agency Visit Iceland, told CNN Travel that Bieber isn’t necessarily to blame for the damage.
“In Iceland you have extreme weather conditions — for example, springtime can be very difficult for the nature when the snow is melting and everything gets more wet and muddy,” Palsdottir explained.
“We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round,” she added. “It’s just a natural wonder that wasn’t meant to be that popular.”
According to Fox News, it’s believed the ancient canyon was formed around 9,000 years ago, during the end of the last Ice Age.