According to an opinion poll on Iceland, undertaken in the UK, Denmark and Germany in February, Iceland’s image remains strong despite the economic crisis and Europeans are just as, if not more, interested in traveling to the country.
Tourists at Mývatn. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“The world’s attention is currently directed at Iceland and you, therefore, have a unique opportunity to promote yourselves. But you have to be quick because the world’s attention shifts quickly,” said David Hoskin at image consultancy Eye for Image, Morgunbladid reports.
Hoskin was among lecturers at a symposium held on Wednesday by the Trade Council of Iceland, the Public Relations Society of Iceland, the Icelandic Tourist Board and other institutions and associations.
In Hoskin’s opinion, the Iceland brand didn’t suffer damage because of the economic crash last fall. “The reason is first and foremost that Iceland’s image wasn’t especially well-known or strong before the crash,” he said, supporting his claim by saying that currently most people connect Iceland with fisheries or finances.
“Apart from these two subjects people worldwide know very little about Iceland. You therefore have to agree on what you want to stand for and then speak with one voice. Namely because of the smallness of the country you have a unique opportunity to join forces and deliver a clear message to foreign countries, but it has to happen quickly,” Hoskin stated, recommending an international marketing campaign.
Geoff Saltmarsh of the Saltmarsh Partnership, the leading UK PR agency specializing in travel and tourism, said in his presentation that the travels of British tourists to Iceland had increased by 20 percent since last fall.
Saltmarsh stated that Iceland’s image as a tourist destination is still strong in the UK and that Brits are even more interested in traveling to Iceland now than before the crash, as the opinion poll also concluded.
According to the poll, 55 percent of British respondents said nature was the first thing they thought of when Iceland was mentioned. Many also characterized Icelanders as charming and kind, speaking of the initiative to donate woolen sweaters to British pensioners last winter.
German respondents mentioned beautiful houses and the quality of life in connection with Iceland and described locals as comfortable and hospitable people to be around. The Danish respondents described Icelanders as a small nation that knows how to get by.