Volcano Tourism has been successfully promoted this year courtesy to the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull; a name that has driven many news readers to despair.
With most eruptions there are usually negative as well as positive outcomes. On the bad side the loss of lives and the destruction of infrastructure are among the main problems.
Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption caused havoc for international air travel – a situation not anticipated without prior warning for the public. Scientists were aware of signs of activity from sill intrusions in 1994, 1999, 2009 and early 2010 (Páll Einarsson, 2010). Not only were European airports forced into closure, travellers at the other end of the world were facing enormous delays. Unexpected extensions of their stay in a foreign country caused severe financial strain for many people. Not to forget the uncertainty – not knowing how long to wait and where to end up in case new ash clouds were causing further problems.
On the plus-side Eyjafjallajökull certainly has given Iceland a much needed boost for their economy after being hit hard by the earlier financial crisis.
Suddenly Volcano Tourism was all over the internet – mostly referring to either Icelandic websites with current information or newspaper articles published worldwide about the implications of this particular eruptive event that caught the travel industry rather unprepared.
The ‘fallout’ of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull once again brought volcanic activity into living rooms worldwide. The media had something more interesting to report than the usual range of news.
In the meantime Eyjafjallajökull has settled down, much to the disappointment of volcano tourists who were hoping to travel to Iceland and see for themselves. But there are other volcanoes close by with the potential to become active. Especially the sub glacial volcano Katla is monitored around the clock, given its history of erupting after Eyjafjallajökull shows signs of activity. If this happens volcano tourists should stay well away, as Katla may have more to offer than what we have seen from Eyjafjallajökull.
Why are Volcanoes so Popular Worldwide?
Volcano tourism is not a new phenomenon - people have travelled to active volcanoes for many centuries. Every year millions of tourists make active and dormant volcanic areas their preferred destination, either for recreational purposes including sightseeing, hiking, climbing, camping or perhaps as an adventure trip involving more extreme activities such as mountaineering, volcano boarding or taking a hot air balloon trip over volcanic landforms like in Capadoccia, Turkey.
Specialised tours (excursions, expeditions) are offered to many active volcanoes worldwide and tour guides generally include geologists and volcanologists to provide guidance and knowledge for people seeking more information about the awesome forces of volcanic activity.
Volcano tourism in Japan is popular, usually in combination with visits to nearby hot spring spas. The viewing platform on the crater rim of Mount Aso on the island of Kyushu is a 'must see' destination for domestic and foreign visitors. Not many visitors leave without having their photo taken with the crater in the background. Photo: Patricia Erfurt-Cooper
The main aim of this website is to provide and exchange information about the tourism sector that focuses on active and dormant volcanic areas on a global basis. This includes the safety aspects that should be considered before venturing into an active crater or climbing volcanoes that may appear quiet, but are classed as active and/or potentially dangerous.