Iceland resumes whaling and tourist numbers drop

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Iceland resumes whaling and tourist numbers drop

Nice to see tourists are avoiding Iceland after they resumed whale hunting. Its a small protest but hopefully more people will join in.

Iceland's decision earlier this week to resume commercial whaling despite an international ban has already hurt the country's tourism industry, with several whale watching companies reporting cancellations.

"We have received several emails from people saying they have decided not to visit Iceland as long as Iceland is conducting whaling," Thorunn Harvardottir of the whale watching company Nordursiglingar in eastern Iceland told AFP Friday.

The Whale Watching Centre in Reykjavik said it had also had about a dozen cancellations since the government on Tuesday authorized its whalers to hunt 30 minke whales and nine fin whales by August 31, 2007 for export.

That makes Iceland only the second country after Norway to defy a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

"We have had several cancellations. They disagree with the policy of the Icelandic government. Some people write three lines, some write a lot," the centre's managing director Einar Steinthorsson said.

"We are very sad about this," he said, adding that Iceland's tourism industry was "very much against whaling as a whole."

Tourists to Iceland come primarily from Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, France and the United States. The tourism industry represents between about six percent of Iceland's gross national product, according to Thorleifur Jonsson of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association.

By netchicken: posted on 22-10-2006

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