Convenient and Curious
An ever-increasing number of travelers are ‘discovering’ Iceland as a destination. A record 1.73 million tourists are expected to arrive in the country before 2016 is through. Most first-time visitors are keen to experience what Iceland is most famous for, such as the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle tour, the south coast and the floating icebergs on Jökulsárlón, which often leaves them hungry for more. Others avoid the crowds and visit off-season, or other parts of the country. Then there are those who come for the culture and history, seek out saga trails, or dine their way around the island (or islands, including Vestmannaeyjar archipelago and others).
Iceland is rapidly growing in popularity as a destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE). For one, the country’s location is convenient, given its position between North America and Europe, and that many airlines make a stopover here. Conference organizers take advantage of the two universities in Reykjavík, along with facilities at the capital’s hotels and, of course, Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center. Among events taking place there is the annual EVE Fanfest, this year April 6-8, where fans of the roleplaying game EVE Online gather to discuss the game’s development (and to party). In 2019, a Marriot hotel will open next to Harpa, making the location even more convenient for conferences. Conventions are increasingly organized in other places in Iceland, too; Akureyri in the north has prime meeting facilities in Hof Cultural Center, and countryside hotels in all regions can host smaller events.
Conference themes are different, ranging from computer games, to non-fiction, to family therapy, and fisheries, but the attendees are all set on having a good time. Conference services help create an interesting atmosphere for meetings—some are set up in a museum where real-size whale models are suspended from the ceiling—and organize exciting activities for conferencegoers, from sightseeing tours—perhaps including a dinner and show, or beer tasting—to river rafting, quad biking, and snowmobiling on a glacier. All around the country, there are casual and fine-dining restaurants, happy to cater to the needs of conferencegoers. A drink or two, or a night on the town, can be arranged for, too.
Conventional or out-of-the-ordinary, Iceland has what it takes to make your event a success.
By Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.