Gallup has conducted a survey for Landsvirkjun which strongly indicates a positive attitude among visiting tourists to the utilisation of renewable energy sources in Iceland. The results of the survey show that 97% of foreign travellers take a positive view of the use of renewable energy in Iceland. The survey was conducted on the Internet, with 1,014 participants.
Three out of four tourists, 75%, said that the utilisation of renewable energy had a positive impact on their experience of Icelandic nature. One percent said the impact was negative. Almost half of the participants, 46%, expressed an interest in looking in at a power station visitor centre on their next visit to Iceland, and 37% felt that increased utilisation of renewable energy in Iceland would increase the likelihood of their visiting Iceland again. 93% of participants in the survey had observed power generation using renewable energy sources in the course of their visit.
“Gallup's survey confirms the contention that Iceland’s image is closely linked to the use of renewable energy sources. Iceland is a country of green energy in the eyes of tourists, who are impressed with the fact that all our energy is generated on a renewable basis.”
Co-operation between the power sector and tourist sector has been positive to date. The access and facilities that power development projects bring with them have in many cases benefited the tourist industry. Once constructed, power stations have often become popular tourist spots. Examples include the Blue Lagoon, the Nature Baths in the Mývatn area, the Energy Exhibition at the Reykjanes Power Plant, Landsvirkjun’s visitor centres at the Ljósafoss and Krafla stations, and the Kárahnjúkar Dam itself.
Visits by foreign guests to these locations number in the hundreds of thousands each year, and current trends in tourist visits to Iceland indicate that their number will grow in the coming years. As revealed in the conclusions of the survey, nearly half of the participants thought it was likely that they would visit a hydropower or geothermal station visitor centre on their next trip to Iceland, indicating that there are clear opportunities for energy-related tourism in Iceland in the coming years.
It should be noted that tourists were not asked about their thoughts on individual proposed development projects, but only the current energy development. Landsvirkjun plans to commission further surveys of the attitudes of foreign tourists to energy development in Iceland and the power plants that have already been constructed.