Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


The Bieber-effect: Explosion in visitor numbers at beautiful Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

By Staff

  • Fjaðrárgljúfur in winter The canyon is one of the most beautiful spots in South Iceland. Photo/The Environment Agency

In the summer of 2015 the Canadian pop star Justin Bieber visited Iceland. In addition to soaking up the scenery Bieber used the opportunity to shoot footage for a video to his hit "I'll Show You". Today the video has been viewed by more than 400 million people on YouTube.

Read more: Fear for the safety of “Beliebers” in Iceland


Exploring Iceland in his underpants Bieber in Fjaðrárgljúfur Photo/Justin Bieber's Instagram account

The video has received some criticism from people who fear that Bieber is encouraging people to engage in reckless behavior: venturing too close to cliffs and climbing in places which are outside roped walking paths, and more appropriately enjoyed from a distance. Bieber taking a swim in the icy Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon has also been criticized.

There is no question, however, that the video has brought Iceland and the scenic spots shown in the video a whole lot of attention.

One of the sites which feature prominently in the video is Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in South East Iceland. The canyon has seen an explosion in the number of visitors in the past years, including a 80% increase between 2016 and 2017. A Nature Ranger at the site, who spoke to the local news site Vísir, attributed the increase to Justin Bieber having taken a swim in his underwear in the canyon during his visit to Iceland

Read more: Justin Bieber takes a dip in Fjaðrá river in 'his Calvin's'

According to figures from the Icelandic Environment Agency 282,423 people visited Fjaðrárgljúfur last year, compared to 154,948 people in 2016. To meet the 82% increase in visitor numbers the Road and Coastal Authority has increased its service of the track leading up to the canyon.

Visitors are asked to respect signs and stay on the walking paths. The short summers mean that the sub-arctic flora of  Iceland cannot recover if it is trampled down and damaged during winter. People are also asked to use crampons as the walking paths are icy in winter.

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