Fjaðrárgljúfur, above, will be closed until June, due to high pedestrian traffic. Photo by Wojciech Strzelecki, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fjaðrárgljúfur01(ws).jpg

Iceland blames Justin Bieber for swarms of tourists

An Icelandic environmental agency is blaming Justin Bieber for an influx of tourists that has temporarily closed one of the country’s canyons.

The canyon, Fjaðrargljufur, appeared in a 2015 music video for Bieber’s song “I’ll Show You,” which has over 400 million views on YouTube, inspiring travellers from around the world to see it in person.

Since the the video’s release, there has been a 50 to 80 per cent increase in foot traffic at the canyon between 2016 and 2018, according to a local news outlet, RUV.

A spokesperson for the agency told RUV that the canyon, which was once somewhat unknown, now cannot handle constant stomping feet, resulting in its closure. The agency has said that the area has been damaged by the pedestrian traffic.

According to the Telegraph, the number of visitors to the canyon increased from 150,000 to 282,000 between 2017 and 2018.

In advance of the video’s release, the singer used Instagram to capture the attention of more than 3 million fans who engaged with a number of promotional posts on the “I’ll Show You,” launch. 

While some of the blame has been directed at Bieber, Inga Hlin Palsdottir, a representative of the country’s national tourism agency told CNN that it would be unfair to blame the pop star for the canyon’s closure. 

“It’s just a natural wonder that wasn’t meant to be that popular,” she said. “We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round. We need paths that can be discovered all year round. It’s not only because of nature, it’s a safety issue.”

The environmental agency told CNN the canyon will be closed until June.