Glacier tourism and climate change in Iceland
|Umsækjandi||Icelandic Tourism Research Centre|
|Stjórnandi||Edward H. Huijbens|
|Lengd verkefnis||2 ár|
|Fyrra verkefni||Næsta verkefni|
Vatnajökull is among the most important tourist destinations in Iceland as well as being the centrepiece of Vatnajökull National Park. The glacial landscapes of Vatnajökull NP are highly threatened by climate change. Climate change impacts on glacial landscapes (e.g. glacier melting, enlargement of pro-glacial areas) effect tourism and park-management e.g. through changes in risk scenarios and destination image, degradation in panoramic scenery, and diminished accessibility to glacier sites and activities. This project will explore the current and future implications of climate change on glacier tourism in Iceland, using Vatnajökull NP as the case-study. The project will develop explanatory scenarios, assess tourism actors´ vulnerability to climate change, and design effective adaptation and mitigation strategies for the glacier tourism sector. Results of the project will be of direct use both to managers of the Park and to various tourism companies offering commercial activities within or in the vicinity of Vatnajökull NP.
The central goal of this project is to develop an adaptation strategy for glacier based tourism in Iceland to cope with the potential impacts of climate change, based on a set of future scenarios. Glaciers and their adjacent landforms make up landscapes that are among the most popular tourism sites in Iceland. These glacial landscapes constitute the basis for a diverse array of tourism activities and services. Glacial landscapes are extremely dynamic and sensitive to external disturbances such as climate change and climate variability. These processes change the size, volume, and morphology of glaciers continuously. Climate change is already driving deep impacts into the glacial landscapes, e.g. through glacier recession. These changes in the glacial landscape effect tourism in their turn e.g. through changes in hazard and risk scenarios, degradation in panoramic scenery, and accessibility towards and within glacial landscapes.
This project has four objectives:
- Gain a thorough understanding of the reciprocal relationship between tourism and glacial landscapes in Iceland.
- Assess current and future impacts of climate change and climate variability on glacier based tourism in Vatnajökull NP.
- Examine the vulnerability of glacier based tourism enterprises to the impacts of climate change in Vatnajökull NP.
- Develop adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with the negative effects of climate induced impacts on glacier based tourism in Iceland.