This summer Vatnajökull National Park announced a plan to introduce limitations on the number of visitors in certain areas of the park. The areas in question are 5 glaciers on the southern side of Vatnajökull, including the ice caves found there. Glacier hikes and ice cave tours are among the parks most popular activities, so popular in fact that complaints of overcrowding have become increasingly more common in recent years.
With an ever increasing amount of visitors the National park started looking into ways to manage this. One of the difficulties with this lies in the fact that the most popular times to visit ice caves is during a time of year where daylight only lasts 4-5 hours. This means that it is not possible to have all the tour operators sell as many seats as they want without overcrowding and impacting both their experience and safety, or going there in the dark, which isn’t what customers, would want. After meeting and discussing solutions with businesses that are operating the glacier and ice cave tours they came to the conclusion to limit the number of daily visitors to these sites so that even during the time of shorter daylight all operators could still visit the caves without people being packed in there like sardines.
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