Iceland: A Sustainable Travel Destination
Find out why Iceland is on the forefront of environmentally friendly tourism
Iceland provides a unique example of best practices for preserving cultural heritage for tourism and protecting natural resources. We’re excited that this is the destination of a new photo tour with National Geographic photographer Tyrone Turner, run by our partners at Penda Photo Tours.
With a tiny population of 330.000 souls, this unique island country hosts volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields and stacks of basalt, but also offshore islands that are home to colonies of seabirds, and tons of picturesque fishing villages. With its wintery landscapes and unique natural shapes – and of course the famous display of Northern Lights – Iceland is a popular destination to travel in general, attracting traveling photographers in particular. It is also, as it turns out, an incredibly sustainable destination.
Iceland has become one of the cleanest energy consumers in the world, with 75% of the total energy consumption created by renewable energy sources such as hydro and geothermal energy. In addition, Iceland is a leader in pollution control, greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation.
Iceland’s green policies filter down to the tourism sector too. Minimising environmental impact and spreading awareness of environmentally-friendly practices have been key features in the country’s tourism strategy in the past decade. This has resulted in a widely adopted focus on sustainable practices by most hotels and tour operators, an effort to spread tourism evenly across the company to minimise environmental impact, and strict policies around protecting cultural heritage sites.
In addition, there is a further intertwined relationship between clean energy and tourism; several geothermal power plants have now opened their doors to tourists who are keen to see what a clean-energy economy looks like – an exciting new form of environmental tourism.
Increasingly, this is the kind of green experience travellers are after. According to the results of a 2016 survey, travellers who are interested in sustainability spend more, travel more often, and stay longer – and an increasing portion of them believe that sustainability matters when they choose a destination. Iceland, therefore, offers what people are after.
Visiting Iceland, with its unique icy landscapes and its green focus, is a Bucket List topping experience. And since we’re all about photography, it’s vital to point out how endlessly photogenic the country is too; there are so many inspiring shapes, surreal vistas, and incredible sunsets to capture. Explore all these elements of Iceland with us on a photo tour, and find out for yourself.