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War On Tourism™

This is not what you want to read if you live in an area that depends on tourism – from the Associated Press: Iceland complains about treatment of tourist

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland’s government has asked the U.S. ambassador to explain the treatment of an Icelandic tourist who says she was held in shackles before being deported from the United States.

The woman, Erla Osk Arnardottir Lillendahl, 33, was arrested Sunday when she arrived at JFK airport in New York because she had overstayed a U.S. visa more than 10 years earlier.

Lillendahl, 33, had planned to shop and sightsee with friends, but endured instead what she has claimed was the most humiliating experience of her life.

What is the point? She overstayed her visa, but she obviously left the US. She comes back to the US to spend money, and they put her chains and ship her out. This is how they spend our tax dollars, by protecting us from tourists‽ Great, another country that hates us.

Update: From comments a link to the Icelandic site of Vidar Eggertsson, with an English translation of Ms. Lillendahl’s own description of her experience.


1 Michael { 12.16.07 at 12:11 am }

Well, obviously, she might do it again.

And that would be really, really bad.

2 Bryan { 12.16.07 at 12:30 am }

Michael, you really should use things like “:twisted:” 😈 when you say things like that or people might take you seriously.

If I was a commissioned salesperson in New York I would be seriously annoyed with this. No one comes from Iceland to shop for a couple of CDs and some batteries.

3 Michael { 12.16.07 at 12:50 am }

Where’s the list of codes like 😈 ?

4 Michael { 12.16.07 at 12:51 am }

That didn’t even work.

5 Cookie Jill { 12.16.07 at 2:13 am }

Santa Barbara relies upon tourism for it’s economic base. I have not been overhearing “accents” this year. Seems most visitors are Americans and not our usual Europeans.
I’m sure that this “visitor” harrassment is only going to make things worse for us “tourist traps”

6 Gisli Kristjansson { 12.16.07 at 8:00 am }

Hi. I’m from Iceland and was planning to travel to Minneapolis in a few days to relax and do some shopping there. Following the treatment of my fellow citizen in JFK airport I have no interest, what so ever, to visit your land of fear and panic! I have nothing to hide, have never been arrested and even though I’ve been many times to the USA I have never overstayed my stay there. I have decided to travel to Europe instead.

A blogger in Iceland by the name of Vidar Eggertsson translated Lillendahl’s narrative of the “most humiliating experience of her life” into English. You can find the translation below:


7 Bryan { 12.16.07 at 10:08 am }

Michael, you have to have spaces before and after for them to be transformed and here’s the complete list of what’s available for WordPress.

I know what you mean, Jill. This is the time of year when we normally hear Canadian, British and German accents, but they are missing, even with the very favorable exchange rate.

Not that it helps much, Gisli, but I apologize for what happened. It was unwarranted and a total waste of our resources. It was senseless authoritarianism, which a lot of us are attempting to change. People have been terrorized by those in power, and it takes time to calm them down and return to reality.

8 fallenmonk { 12.16.07 at 2:53 pm }

How embarrassing is this? I guess she should be grateful that she is white…goddess only knows what would have happened if she had been from some middle eastern place and not from the hotbed of terrorism Iceland.

9 Badtux { 12.16.07 at 7:44 pm }

This summer was dismal for some folks I know in a major tourist area. They usually get tons of German tourists. This year… nada. When I was there in prime tourist season, the only foreigners I met were from France. For some reason the Germans are staying home en masse, maybe because of the revelations of the U.S. torture chambers and continued mistreatment of tourists entering the nation by “Homeland Security” goons who are more intent upon proving they have big swinging dicks and can mistreat people without any justification than upon doing anything useful.

So anyhow they had to lay off 20% of their workforce, cut their room rates practically in half, etc., and they’re still teetering on the edge. The only reason they haven’t gone under yet is because a number of us have volunteered to help them out from time to time, by, e.g., fixing stuff around the place that needs fixing but the money isn’t there because the tourists are staying away. But that can’t go on forever…

10 Bryan { 12.16.07 at 11:06 pm }

Between the lack of tourists and the bust in housing prices, the local economy sucks. Even the Hispanics are leaving, which is a symptom of the housing slump. Stores aren’t as stacked with merchandise as they were last year, and the sales have already started.

Being an Air Force town, we have a significant German population by marriage, but you just don’t see them. The Canadians are down because of the shorter visa length. They would come down and stay for the winter, but now they can’t, and those condo are now empty.

The entire state is a fiscal mess, as property and sales taxes are the state budget.

Throw in the higher insurance costs, and people are in real trouble with no relief in sight.

Homeland Security has run amok, and someone needs to impose some sanity on the process. Shackling someone because they overstayed their visa by 3 weeks a decade ago, is insane.