People who have been selling Icelandic goods to the USA for decades say that attitudes have become a lot more positive and that it is now easier to do their jobs than ever before—in no small way thanks to the worldwide attention gained by Icelandic musicians including Björk, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men.
There has been a lot of buzz about Iceland in Boston in recent days. Promote Iceland and Iceland Naturally jointly hosted the A Taste of Iceland festival; while North America’s largest seafood and fisheries fair was held in the city last weekend, with a lot of Icelandic involvement.
Hlynur Guðjónsson, head of Iceland’s trade delegation to North America, told RÚV that Iceland’s improving image there has a variety of different causes.
“Iceland is constantly becoming more visible when culture and arts are concerned,” he says, pointing particularly to artists like Björk, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men. Icelandic companies like Icelandair, Össur and Marel are also widely known and respected.
North Americans’ impressions of Iceland have been regularly polled since 1999. In the beginning, over 80% of respondents had a negative impression of Iceland and wanted no further information about the country. Hlynur says that this has been slowly but surely changing into a positive impression of Iceland, and from people wanting no further information to people generally wanting to know more.
Hlynur explains that the reason for Iceland’s position today with regard to tourism and other areas is that people are much more receptive to goods and services from partners they have a positive impression of and know a bit about.