Iceland opens for tourists from China

The Icelandic Embassy has in the last few months in cooperation with the Icelandic Tourist Board, Icelandair, Trade Council of Iceland, Scandinavian Airline Systems and other parties, been promoting Iceland as a travel destination for Chinese tourists. The goal has been to get Chinese travel agents to add Iceland to their organized North European tours and thus increase the tourist flow from China to Iceland. No other tourist market is growing as fast as the Chinese these days. It is estimated that approximately 20 million Chinese citizens will travel abroad this year and even though only relatively few of them travel to Europe at present it will change in the coming years. "It is important to promote Iceland now as many companies in the travel business here in China are organizing trips and choosing destinations in Europe", says ambassador Eidur Gudnason. According to Eidur 500-550 travel agents are authorized to sell tours to Iceland in the wake of the ADS-agreement (Approved Destination Status) between Iceland and China, which he signed on behalf of Iceland in April this year. The agreement took effect on September 1. "We need 10-20 Chinese travel agents to add Iceland to their European tours and then continue to work with them on further promotion. The Chinese market is big and developing very quickly. It is actually an exceptional opportunity to influence this important market now, but of course it is an open-ended project to introduce Iceland here as elsewhere. " This time the promotions were held in Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing. The Guitar Islancio Trio played before guests and the introduction itself was presented through words and pictures. All in all around 250 managers and employees from around 100 travel agents, participated in addition to representatives from the media, the vice mayors of Shanghai and Nanjing and representatives from the Beijing Tourist Bureau. "This is the first time Iceland presents such a promotion in China and thus it was very satisfying to see how many people came", says Magnus Bjarnason Minister Counsellor in Beijing. "We think that there is a considerable interest in Iceland and most likely in connection with travel to other Nordic countries as Chinese tourist travel in groups and visit many countries on the same trip. However it is perhaps a little bit expensive and takes time to add Iceland to those kinds of tours. That is why we try to appeal to those that have enough time and means" say ambassador Eidur Gudnason.
Optimistic on results
Judy Cao, Icelandair GSA, General Sales Agent in China is pleased with the success. "We receive continually more inquiries on Iceland and the sales in China have multiplied recently although we are just beginning", she adds. "The Icelandic Embassy, the Icelandic Tourist Board and others have given us a very important assistance to ignite the introduction of Iceland by e.g. make a website on Iceland in Chinese (, contribute to publishing an introductory booklet about Iceland and by participating in many activities that aim at getting travel agents to add Iceland to their travel destinations, and this is the very basis for the sale of tours to Iceland in the future." Steinn Larusson, Icelandair Area Manager for Asia, says that the growth in China has been large this year. "We are optimistic on good results but it takes time to place oneself on the map in this industry as there is a lot of competition, but there is much to gain.

Dao Shunning Directive General of Tourist
Administrative Bureau, Magnus Bjarnason Minister
Counsellor, Xue Peijing Vice Mayor of Shanghai,
Ambassador Eidur Gudnason, Judy Cao
Icelandair GSA in China and Wang Ronghua
Former Chinese Ambassador to Iceland
Map of Iceland
Daily News from Iceland
Icelandic Tourist Board
Iceland Naturally
Responsible Fisheries
Trade Council
Statistics Iceland

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