West Fjords’ Friends of Water, an organization with the goal of increasing water-related tourism in the West Fjords, recently received an Eden tourism award at a festive ceremony in Brussels.
From the West Fjords. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
“We are on cloud nine; it is very prestigious and a recognition for everyone involved in the project,” Viktoría Rán Ingólfsdóttir, the West Fjords’ Friends of Water project leader, told Fréttabladid.
The awards are granted annually to destinations in Europe which are considered to approach tourism in an original manner, along with emphasizing sustainable tourism. The goal is to increase the visibility of outstanding destinations that are off the beaten track.
This year’s theme was water and ocean-related tourism and the West Fjords were among 25 destinations awarded.
“We received the award for developing tourism in the West Fjords towards sustainability and without damaging the environment. In other words, for shedding new light on natural pools—which locals and other Icelanders tend to look at as a matter-of-course—connect them with other kinds of tourism in the region to attract foreign travelers all year round,” Ingólfsdóttir elaborated.
A varied bird and animal life along with a beautiful coastline had its part in winning the West Fjords the award, according to Ingólfsdóttir.
“It makes up between 30 and 40 percent of the entire country’s coastline and we have also been efficient in developing activities around it and offering, for example, adventure tours at sea, sea angling, coastal fishing and more,” she explained.
“This is of course encouragement for everyone who have participated in the West Fjords’ Friends of Water project to keep up with the good work; in the future we plan to develop high-quality health tourism by establishing spas in a few locations,” Ingólfsdóttir said.
“It is also a step towards the entire West Fjords becoming environmentally certified,” she added. “Last but not least the award gives us a better chance of promoting ourselves to our main target group, foreign tourists, and so lengthening the tourism period—which is one of our main goals.”
Friends of Water also promote water and health-related tourism in the entire country. Visit the organization’s website for further information.