A Time to Connect? On Tourism Policy Making in Iceland

Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson


Tourism in Iceland has experienced a rapid growth during the last three decades and currently provides a substantial part of Iceland‘s foreign currency earnings. Tourism has often been described as a sector with huge potentialities on the island and after the banking crisis in 2008 tourism has been recognized as an important part of the national economy. This article explores efforts made by the central authorities to create a tourism policy. The main features in the history of tourism policy making are described but the focus remains on two phases, which cast light on its emergence and development. The article makes use of actor-network theory to highlight the heterogeneity and dynamics of tourism policy making. It is argued that tourism policy is an effect of complex set of relations and at times unexpected conjunctions and coincidences as well as being characterized by an apparent lack of relation between the authorities and the sector. In the two cases discussed the cod stock and volcanic ash particles play significant roles in shaping and accomplishing tourism policies.


Tourism policy; actor-network theory; Iceland; relationalism.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2012.8.1.8


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