Inspired by Iceland – Campaign breathing new life into Icelandic tourism

Inspired by Iceland – Campaign breathing new life into Icelandic tourism

In the wake of the volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull, the ash fall and corresponding trouble it caused in international airline transportation, the Icelandic tourist industry was in a bleak mode. Visits in the month of April had decreased to the amount of 22% from the previous year and the tourist board estimated that in total 100.000 fewer visitors would make the journey to visit Iceland than had been anticipated. For such a small market the losses of income that decrease would have in store were estimated to contain a significant proportion of the foreign currency in Iceland.
To address this unprecedented situation all the major travel- and tourist companies joined together with the Tourist board of Iceland to create a marketing venture designed to maintain Iceland´s position as a viable tourist attraction. All in all over 70 different associations have been involved in creating the campaign. Due to all the diverging interests among the participating companies the main goal of the campaign has been to highlight Iceland´s qualities and attractions, listing its culture, cuisine, recreational options and of course the vast unspoiled landscape. The focus has been put on stressing the fact that despite the volcanic eruptions and the financial sectors difficulties life goes on in Iceland. Icelanders still go on about their everyday life like they normally would, they still go on mountain hikes during the weekends and so forth.

The most remarkable aspect of this campaign is that it encourages the whole nation of Iceland to use social mediums like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in order to gain interest in the campaign and its message. The use of all the other mediums is to point towards the campaigns website. Hence the participating people of Iceland are in a way affiliate marketers, without being fully aware of that. Most of them have been caught up in the wave that participating is fun, somewhat patriotic and will help the economy of the nation.

In short the Inspired by Iceland website is a highly innovative, informative and above all interactive site that highlights Iceland´s many exciting possibilities. It contains live streaming content from seven distinct attractions. Including the Blue Lagoon, Geysir and Gullfoss, Jökulsarlon and the downtown area of Reykjavik. Along with the customary and useful section that details all the necessary information for curious visitors, from accommodation to recreation and culture and shopping, the most vibrant factor of Inspired by Iceland though is the highly accessible design and the integration of personal and interactive material. The website encourages its visitors to supply their own pictures, stories and videos of why they are inspired by Iceland. Many noted Icelanders like Bjork and Sigurros have participated, but the most fascinating part is the amount of personal accounts of either amusing or informative content that the public has posted on the site.

At this juncture it seems the campaign has been fairly successful. Some international celebrities like Viggo Mortensen, David Byrne, Stephen Fry and Dame Kiri de Kanawa have pitched in with some original material on why now is the best time to visit Iceland, and by doing so have helped the campaign gain some much needed publicity. For once it seems that the Icelanders have managed to gain the world´s attention with their own agenda, without the aid of their sometimes brutal natural forces or dire financial management.

Vincent Pierce is a freelance designer and photographer based in Reykjavik. He has worked as a consultant on many tourist related ventures. His interior design work can be found in various shops and hotels in Reykjavik.

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