The owner of the largest plot of land at Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in northeast Iceland, says that it could very well be possible to rent the land to Chinese investor Huang Nubo to build a luxury resort. The Icelandic government denied Mr. Huang permission to buy the land — a move he criticised vocally as Western bias against China.
The decision to grant or deny land purchase requests from non-EEA companies and individuals lies with the Icelandic Ministry of the Interior; but that is not the case with land leases. The Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism was in favour of Huang buying the huge plot of land to build a luxury resort and she now plans to contact Huang Nubo about the land lease idea over the coming days, Vísir.is reports.
Furthermore, in an interview with Stöð 2 yesterday, Huang Nubo said that he is not even considering bending the rules by buying Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum through a European-based front company. He is, however, interested in leasing the land for his proposed resort.
Jóhannes H. Hauksson, who owns half of the land along with his sister, says that he would theoretically be happy to lease the land out — adding that his main concern is first and foremost the development of a strong and stable tourism industry in northeast Iceland.
Jóhannes told Vísir that Huang Nubo is the right man for the job. He has had purchase requests before and always rejected them — but now is the first time he has wanted to sell the land. He says that is largely because he wants Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum to be put to good use in developing the remote region. He also expressed sympathy with Mr. Huang’s vocal disappointment, saying that nobody from the government made contact with him to discuss the foreigner’s land purchase application.
Minister of Industry Energy and Tourism Katrín Júlíusdóttir told reporters she is looking into ways to help Huang Nubo invest in Iceland if he is still interested, saying news that he may be interested in leasing the land is positive and that she will talk to him in person soon.