Recent disruption caused by the now-world-famous Grimsvotn volcano is already being cleaned up and the South Iceland tourism industry is looking forward to another bright summer ahead.
The clear message coming out of Iceland today is that it is still a fantastic and unique country to visit.
Most of the country is totally unaffected by the volcanic ash and all major roads in Iceland are once again open – meaning that curious visitors can easily check out the affected area and see the ash for themselves.
They will have to hurry, however; because the efficient ash clean-up operation is already progressing quickly and local residents hope life in the southeast will be back to normal very soon.
Iceland’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Katrin Juliusdottir, is even on her way with a team of ministry staff to personally help out with the clean-up. “There is only so much the government can do from Reykjavik,” the minister says. “It is very clear that what is really needed right now is people on the scene, helping to clean up – so that is exactly what we’ve decided to do. We are used to dealing with this kind of situation here in Iceland, and we have received overwhelming support from all around the country.”
The Grimsvotn volcano is located under the Vatnajokull glacier in the Vatnajokull National Park – the biggest national park in Europe. Visits to the crater are not yet allowed, as the eruption has yet to be officially declared finished. But enterprising tour companies are already planning to take advantage of Iceland’s newest geological wonder.
“The situation is much better than we anticipated. It was completely black with ash here on Sunday, but now the colour is coming back into the forest and the birds have started to sing,” says Gudmundur Ogmundsson, a ranger at the national park.
Eyjafjallajokull – the star volcano of 2010 – is also in South Iceland and tourists have been able to visit that since last summer. It is still one of the most popular tours on offer today and an Eyjafjallajokull museum even opened on the eruption’s first anniversary.
To keep up-to-date with the volcano situation in Iceland, visit www.inspiredbyiceland.com.