How Justin Bieber Got Tourists Banned From An Icelandic Natural Wonder

Photo: James Devaney/GC Images.
Cue up all your best “is it too late now to be sorry?” jokes: Iceland, a popular millennial travel destination, is temporarily closing Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, one of it its famous tourist attractions. Justin Bieber is (indirectly) behind the ban.
Why is this? You may not recognize Fjaðrárgljúfur by name, but you would almost certainly know what it looks like — that is, if you participated in the Justin Bieber Renaissance of 2015-2016. That’s because Fjaðrárgljúfur, among other spots in Iceland, was featured in Bieber’s 2015 music video “I’ll Show You,” which currently has more than 440 million views on YouTube. The video, which shows Bieber prancing about, rolling down hills, and gazing pensively into waterfalls, seemingly inspired some people to make a pilgrimage Fjaðrárgljúfur themselves.
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Photo: Konstantin Kalishko / Alamy Stock Photo.
The number of visitors to Fjaðrárgljúfur nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017, according to Conde Nast Traveler, causing damage to its natural vegetation. The site has shut down twice in the previous year, and this time, officials say it will stay closed until June 1.
That said, it would be unfair to task Bieber with the brunt of the blame. Bieber himself did not invent Instagram tourism, after all, which is the more likely culprit to blame for the sudden influx of natural landscape-degrading Fjaðrárgljúfur visitors. Fortunately, the closure is temporary, and it is being used to make Fjaðrárgljúfur less susceptible to the wear and tear of foot traffic.
"It's just a natural wonder that wasn't meant to be that popular," Inga Hlin Palsdottir, director of Visit Iceland, told CNN Travel. "We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round."
There you have it, folks. You can plan your next trip to Iceland with a Fjaðrárgljúfur visit in mind — but maybe don’t film your viral music video there.
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