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BY Jennifer Morris


WTM 2017: Iceland seeks 'eco pledges'

Iceland is targeting sustainable growth across all of its seven regions for 2018, alongside the continued promotion of its new “environmental pledge” for tourists.

Iceland scenery and northern lights

"We have had impressive growth over the last few years and most of it has been off-season"

The Icelandic Pledge, introduced in June, has already been signed by 25,000 visitors.

The eight-point online agreement is intended to push responsible tourism for Iceland “as it seeks to protect its beautiful yet fragile environment”, as well as promote a “happy and meaningful travel experience” for visitors.

Pledges include leaving places as they were found; sticking to allocated campsites; when nature calls “not answering the call on nature”; and not “dying for the sake of taking a good selfie”.

The pledge follows on from Iceland Academy, an interactive online education tool launched by Inspired by Iceland in 2016 that encourages informed behaviour from visitors.

Inga Hlin Palsdottir, director of Visit Iceland & Creative Industries, said that while protecting Iceland from environmental damage is a priority for the tourist board, it continues to focus on increasing visitor numbers.

She said: “We have had impressive growth over the last few years and most of it has been off-season – from September to May rather than in the summer. A total of 40% of visitors arrive between June and August, compared with 60% off-season.

“Tourism has jumped from being the third-largest industry in Iceland to the first, ahead of fishing even. For this to be sustainable visitors need to be respecting the environment and we have to focus on all regions of Iceland and providing inspiration for those.”

Iceland received 1.7 million visitors in 2016, and this number of international arrivals is expected to reach 2.2 million this year. Hlin Palsdottir said the growth had been due to a combination of the tourist board working with airlines and tour operators to “help put Iceland on the map”.

Elsewhere, harnessing the island’s language, which is notoriously difficult to learn, Inspired by Iceland has released what it claims to be “the hardest karaoke song in the world” as part of the country’s new marketing initiative. The A-Ö of Iceland, the Icelandic equivalent of an A-Z guide, uses the 32 letters of the Icelandic alphabet, ending in “Ö”. The aim is to highlight the language, showcasing the diversity and breadth of Iceland and encouraging visitors to go further afield.

Visitors can take The Icelandic Pledge at

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