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Photo: Visit Seyðisfjörður

Town in Iceland asks tourists for sensitivity

The residents are asking cruise and ferry visitors not to take pictures through people’s windows, or of the local children playing.

A town in Iceland has become the first in the country to pass guidelines for foreign tourists arriving by cruise ship. The residents of Seyðisfjörður are especially asking visitors to show consideration when taking photos – and not to take pictures through people’s windows.

“It all began two years ago, when a group of people began discussing these issues,” mayor Aðalheiður Borgþórsdóttir tells the newspaper Morgunblaðið.

“There was irritation among us, because people were taking pictures through the windows of homes, and even walking into private yards. This is a small town with a lot of tourist traffic. That’s when this idea came up.”

The guidelines ask tourists not to take pictures of the local children playing in playgrounds without parental approval. They also ask visitors to treat the surroundings well and not leave rubbish behind.

“We were able to contact the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. It’s an association which has worked in Svalbard and elsewhere, assisting people in writing guidelines for tourists,” the mayor says.

Countless passengers
Around 70 cruise ships are expected in Seyðisfjörður this summer, the first of which arrived on May 8. In addition, the ferry Norræna which sails between Denmark and Iceland arrives twice a week, bringing a weekly total of 1,200 passengers.

The mayor admits that the guidelines have yet to be adequately distributed, but they will be sent to the cruise lines that belong to the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, as well as to Norræna.

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