19. janúar 2024

Promoting sustainability stories


Lína Petra Þórarinsdóttir, Head of Tourism at Business Iceland, introduces Iceland's sustainability stories for sharing abroad.

Business Iceland celebrated the Day of Responsible Tourism on Wednesday, January 18, to a packed house in the main hall at Gróska. This year's event was a joint project between Business Iceland and the Iceland Tourism Cluster, focusing on the remarkable sustainability stories of Iceland as a destination and nourishing tourism. The event was also part of a successful Tourism Week held from January 16 to 18 in cooperation with the tourism industry.

The First Lady of Iceland, Eliza Reid, launched the day by presenting the Responsible Tourism Encouragement Awards, which this year went to the Blue Lagoon. Almost everyone is familiar with the Blue Lagoon as one of our most valuable brands for promoting Iceland and tourism to the country. However, the Blue Lagoon's circular story and how it has worked with various resource streams for the last 30 years is less well-known. 

Head of the newly formed Capital Area Marketing Office, Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir spoke of the office's new role and how it will join the dense network of regional marketing offices. The Capital Area's Marketing Office bases its approach on sustainability principles and will work to significantly boost the cooperation and impact of tourism operators in the capital area. The strategy and guiding principles of the office have been approved along with the leading projects for 2024, and it will be exciting to follow along.

Subsequently, Lína Petra Þórarinsdóttir, Head of Tourism at Business Iceland, presented the eight stories selected to convey Iceland's sustainability as a destination. Mapping of these stories has been ongoing over the past few months with workshops and industry discussions. The result of this work is content to use in public relations, social media, websites, campaigns, events, and marketing materials for Iceland. The stories are accessible on the Visit Iceland website under Iceland's Sustainability Saga.

Perhaps most important is communicating and promoting the Sustainability Sagas to potential visitors, sparking interest and awareness of Iceland's environment, history, and culture. Auður Ösp Ólafsdóttir, who specializes in customer experience, shared how Icelanders can bring the stories to life and use the content throughout the tourism industry.

In telling Blue Lagoon's story, quality manager Fannar Jónsson shared how the Blue Lagoon's inception and existence came about. Initially, it was an experimental operation that evolved into Iceland's most popular destination for foreign tourists while continuing to offer its unique healing properties to those in need. These treatments have been provided to patients free of charge, demonstrating the Blue Lagoon's social responsibility to the local community.

Ásta Kristín Sigurjónsdóttir, CEO of the Tourism Cluster, concluded the event with insights and special encouragement towards encouraging sustainable tourism by offering lectures, toolkits, and increasing awareness of sustainable options for tourist operators. The change will require rethinking Iceland's tourism approach slightly. However, encouraging sustainable tourism will serve Icelanders and tourists better, protect vulnerable nature, and ensure that the destination is better off.

The meeting was chaired by Hildur Björg Bæringsdóttir, Account Manager at Business Iceland and liaison for sustainability in tourism.

Below are some pictures from the event

Promoting sustainability stories

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