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Why Go to Iceland Is Leaning Into Arts & Tradition to Drive Tourism



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This sponsored content material was created in collaboration with a Skift accomplice.

Simply accessible from each the U.S. and Europe, Iceland’s reputation as a tourism vacation spot is basically on account of its pure magnificence, distinctive geography, and seemingly limitless outside excursions and actions. However this island nation of 375,000 folks has far more to supply past the “land of fireside and ice” — the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants has contributed to a dynamic, authentic tradition scene price exploring.


With experiential journey more and more driving trip-planning choices, Iceland is positioning itself as a vacation spot for once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences set in opposition to a wide ranging pure backdrop.

Near 30 airways fly on to Iceland from greater than 80 locations, providing glorious connectivity all year long — and new routes connecting the North of Iceland to Europe have made it much more accessible. EasyJet just lately launched the direct flight from the UK to North Iceland, connecting London’s Gatwick airport with Akureyri, a small city of 20,000 folks on the backside of the deepest fjord in Iceland.

SkiftX spoke with Lína Petra Þórarinsdóttir, head of Go to Iceland, concerning the island’s attract as a cultural vacation spot for enterprise and leisure journey alike, the breadth of its off-the-beaten-path enchantment, and native sustainability efforts designed to guard its pure surroundings.


SkiftX: What makes Iceland stand out as a inventive hub and cultural middle?

Lina Petra Þórarinsdóttir: Iceland takes pleasure in its inventive and artistic industries. In Reykjavík, you’ll be able to expertise a contemporary European capital with easy accessibility to world-class cultural actions — however you’re additionally simply two hours away from a wide ranging glacier hike, or 20-minutes away from a beloved mountain path or whale-watching tour.

Lína Petra
Head of Go to Iceland

Our small nation has made a big contribution to the worldwide artwork scene, with famend visible artists like Olafur Eliasson and Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, musicians akin to Björk and Hildur Guðnadóttir, and the bands Sigur Rós and GusGus, simply to call just a few.

Inventive Iceland is our manner of showcasing Iceland as a inventive hub. The initiative is a joint challenge between Enterprise Iceland and the Icelandic authorities, targeted on exporting numerous Icelandic artwork kinds — music, artwork, literature, movie, performing arts, and design — to the remainder of the world to construct consciousness and assist for native artists and firms.


SkiftX: The brand new route from London to Akureyri helps make North Iceland extra accessible. Why ought to enterprise vacationers take into account venturing away from Reykjavík?

Þórarinsdóttir: We name Akureyri the capital of the north. It boasts a surprisingly vibrant cultural scene anchored by the Akureyri Artwork Museum and North Iceland Symphonic Orchestra. There’s additionally a thriving theater season for anybody keen to study slightly Icelandic.

For enterprise vacationers, loads of area for conferences and conventions could be discovered at Hof, a ravishing convention venue and cultural middle surrounded by glorious lodging choices.


All of this makes Akureyri a great location for bleisure journey or incentive journeys — you’re surrounded by nature, from the fjords to the Forest Lagoon, and nonetheless inside attain of native tourism experiences highlighting the area’s historical historical past and modern arts and tradition scene.

Iceland boasts the high-tech infrastructure, skilled know-how, and world-class lodging choices wanted to host unbelievable occasions. You may get from the boardroom to nature in just some minutes.

SkiftX: What festivals, experiences, and occasions needs to be on the radar for enterprise and leisure vacationers?


Þórarinsdóttir: Iceland Airwaves is likely one of the largest occasions in Reykjavík, however there are festivals in smaller cities all around the nation year-round. Within the Westfjords, there’s an awesome music competition round Easter referred to as Aldrei fór ég suður, which accurately means “I by no means went south.” It’s an awesome native expertise that highlights Icelandic musicians, a lot of them from the Westfjords area. The Siglufjörður Folks Music Competition additionally takes place up north in July. Darkish Music Days is a January competition dedicated to modern music. There’s additionally the Blues Competition in April, the Jazz Competition in August, the Reykjavík Worldwide Movie Competition in September, and Opera Days in October.

Iceland can be an essential literary middle — Reykjavík was the primary non-native English-speaking nation to be named a UNESCO Metropolis of Literature. The town’s annual Iceland Author’s Retreat was initially established by Eliza Reid, who’s now the primary woman of Iceland. Lastly, the Nordic Noir Literary Competition can be a spotlight, celebrating the theme of darkness in all its kinds.

Top-of-the-line methods we will encourage folks to think about Iceland as a vacation spot is to carry the Icelandic arts to the place they’re. For instance, our Style of Iceland occasion collection introduces tradition, music, literature, and culinary highlights to focus on markets all over the world.


One other annual occasion, DesignMarch (aka Iceland’s design week), has been instrumental in selling Icelandic design to the world via the whole lot from jewellery to structure. Nordic design is already well-known, and Icelandic traditions are distinctive inside that umbrella.

SkiftX: Many individuals anticipate Iceland to be darkish and chilly within the winter, but it surely’s truly an unbelievable time to go to. What are some highlights of visiting within the low season?

Þórarinsdóttir: Every little thing you’ll be able to expertise within the excessive season you’ll be able to expertise at different occasions as nicely. Sure, there’s a brief interval the place it’s virtually darkish 24/7, however that may be an unbelievable expertise in itself. That’s when you might have an opportunity to expertise the Northern Lights, unbelievable views of the celebs within the night time sky, and a good nearer connection to nature.


Icelanders take day off in the summertime, so most of the prime cultural points of interest happen throughout winter. The inventive trade is buzzing throughout these low season months, and there’s a way of coziness and connection that comes from experiencing the heat of creativity.

SkiftX: How is Iceland serving to guests make extra sustainable selections?

Þórarinsdóttir: We actively put money into initiatives to advertise sustainability and cut back the environmental impression of journey and tourism. For instance, Go to Iceland’s carbon calculator helps guests and occasion planners calculate the carbon footprint of their journey or agenda, with alternatives to offset that environmental impression upfront.


We launched the Icelandic Pledge a decade in the past, however now it’s an interactive expertise that encourages vacationers to decide to the precise methods they are going to defend and respect the pure surroundings.

As well as, the Vacationer Web site Safety Fund is devoted to sustaining and defending vacationer routes and points of interest, making certain vacationer security, and preserving Icelandic nature and wildlife.

Guests on the lookout for sustainable journey choices can try the Go to Iceland web site, which gives a map of EV charging stations across the nation. The share of electrical autos in Iceland is continually growing and exploring the nation utilizing an emissions-free car is a dependable possibility.


Lastly, I additionally wish to point out social sustainability. Slowing down and partaking within the native tradition helps construct a extra sustainable society. It’s a type of regenerative tourism — if a small group off the overwhelmed path in Iceland is ready to develop as a middle for tradition and tourism, locals are capable of stay and work within the place they name house as an alternative of getting to depart to hunt alternatives elsewhere. Tourism is giving again to that group, and that’s an essential issue of sustainability that shouldn’t be missed.

For extra details about Enterprise Iceland’s advertising and marketing actions, click on right here.

This content material was created collaboratively by Enterprise Iceland and Skift’s branded content material studio, SkiftX.

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