Over the course of eight years, Iceland has become a increasingly popular destination for travelers. With the northern lights, Black Sand Beach and scenic hiking trails, it’s easy to see why. With a population of around 330,000, the island occupied a staggering 1.6 million visitors last year.
As Iceland is brimming with tourists, the country is responding by proposing legislation to limit the number of days people can offer their properties to Airbnb.
The ruling would limit renters to rent their property out 90 days a year and require all Airbnb users to pay a business tax. Anyone in an apartment would need permission from the residents around them before renting their apartment on Airbnb according to Iceland’s supreme court ruling.
In one year there has been a 124 percent increase in apartments on Airbnb causing house prices to significantly rise in central Reykjavík. Locals have reportedly become irritated with the amount of tourists in the area using facilities; in return there are not enough for them to use comfortably, “We don’t want downtown Reykjavík to be tourists only, with no locals,” said the director of Visit Reykjavík, Áshildur Bragadóttir.
In efforts to easy congestion, legislators are also looking to limit the number of tourists on popular hiking trails and adding direct international flights to areas outside of Reykjavík.
Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, but most call her Spiler.