The Nordic country of Iceland has long been considered an “Instagrammable destination”. Now, locals say the island has an issue with inconsiderate influencers.
Iceland is a favorite destination among Instagrammers hunting for the perfect picture, but its residents are tired of inconsiderate influencers.
Earlier this month, a visitor got stuck in mud after driving off road – a forbidden practice in Iceland over concerns of damage to wildlife – with a rental vehicle and had to be rescued by the local police, who later reported the events on its Facebook page.
Icelanders are so concerned with the issue that they started Facebook and Instagram pages to report bad behavior perpetrated by problematic Instagrammers.
The pages show Instagram users drinking and driving, crossing tourist perimeters and disrespecting the local ecosystem and fauna. They obviously did not do their research about the local dos and don’ts, said Michalina Okreglicka to the BBC.
“I have a feeling now everything is about Instagram and the perfect Instagram shot. I have never seen so much stupid and irresponsible behavior in different countries compared to Iceland. I’m going to their profiles and commenting on what they are doing and trying to inform them to stop this.”
Visit Iceland is trying to promote responsible behavior by tourists. It diffuses videos about the importance of protecting the Icelandic moss and the need to drive only on the main roads and tracks. It also had to start a pledge for tourists to sign upon arrival at the airport, where they promise to leave the places as they find them and stop urinating in the countryside.
Pall Jokull Petursson makes a living out of showing photographers Iceland’s wildlife. He believes there are good and bad influencers on Instagram.
“The bad ones often attract the bad visitors by showing reckless behavior and breaking the rules, giving others the idea that in Iceland you don’t have to follow rules, like driving off-road.
“I have seen all kinds of behavior that is both dangerous and disrespectful – like climbing over fences to stand on the edge of a cliff just for the Instagram selfie.
“The good Instagrammers try to show different ways of enjoying nature. We don’t tag places that are off the beaten path that we want to protect as long as possible. Some places have become “insta-famous” without ever mentioning where they are but eventually they become known to everyone.”
Icelandic government was also forced to close Fjadrargljufur Canyon until the beginning of June. It became overrun with tourists after Justin Bieber used it as a set for his “I’ll show you music” video.
In a statement to Associated Press, environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson said that “rash behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows”.
Instagram photographer Ben Simon Rehn sees disrespectful conduct by visitors a very big problem.
“Some Instagrammers are sponsored by companies and don’t obey pretty easy rules just to get a more spectacular photo from a slightly different angle.
“It’s a shame Instagrammers behave like this – especially landscape/adventure ‘photographers’ who seem to be so close to the natural world and love the outdoors, but then seem to forget or fail when it comes to the simplest understanding of laws to protect it. So I always ask myself, is it about likes and themselves or do they really care about the planet and nature?”
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