Travel influencer ‘not welcome in Iceland’ after driving off-road for Instagram post

Instagrammer could be fined up to £2,500

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 04 June 2019 11:00 BST
The photographer wanted to reach a volcanic lake
The photographer wanted to reach a volcanic lake

A Russian travel influencer has come under fire after driving off-road in Iceland, which is strictly prohibited.

Alexander Tikhomirov, who has 300,000 Instagram followers, posted a picture of himself next to his rented Land Cruiser, which had become stuck in the clay after he drove it off-road.

The caption read: “Congratulations, today I got a big fine.”

The photographer and filmmaker had been driving in northern Iceland when he attempted to reach the volcanic Lake Mývatn by heading cross-country.

Off-road driving is illegal in Iceland as it can damage fragile soil and vegetation, and there are hefty fines of up to around £2,500 for those caught breaking the rules under the country’s Nature Conservation Act.

Locals alerted police to Tikhomirov’s antics, according to local media. After helping him rescue the car, they took him to be questioned at the local station.

The social media personality, who in addition to travel content frequently posts videos and photos of scantily clad women to his channels, was told by online followers that he was “not welcome in Iceland” after the stunt.

“In a time where we’ve declared a climate emergency and we have less than 12 years to sort the planet out, here you are destroying a beautiful part of the world for an Instagram photo,” wrote one commenter, while another said he “should be banned” from the country.

Others called him an “idiot” and a “degenerate” in a slew of negative responses to the post.

Commenter P.Mayakota highlighted the issue of overtourism, writing: “You are probably proud of the increased attention this has brought. For you there is no bad PR. Only in this case you are not touching upon a limited circle of people, but creating a whole precedent of overtourism.

“The negative impression received by the Icelanders will be reflected in the attitude towards more adequate travellers and will create a preconceived opinion.”

Overtourism in Iceland was highlighted earlier this year after a canyon where Justin Bieber recorded the music video for “I’ll Show You” had to be temporarily closed.

The Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in the southeast of the country was previously off the beaten track, but gained prominence after featuring in the 2015 video.

Visitor numbers to the canyon almost doubled from 2017 to 2018, with the popularity surge resulting in damage to vegetation.

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