What was all the fuss? An Incentive gem on the rise
Prior to the volcanic eruptions of April 2010, Iceland was a relatively unknown destination for incentives from the Southern Hemisphere. But one small bang suddenly brought it to the fore, for the wrong reasons. Volcanic eruptions that spewed ash into the air for 6 days, disrupted large areas of Europe. Due to airspace being closed, travel plans for some 10 million travelers were left in disarray.
This experience had a large knock-on effect on the travel industry as a whole. Insurance companies re-looked at their cover. Companies working on future incentives started wanting to know what plans were in place in the event of a similar incident. This unforeseen act of God had many people look to Google for answers!
Fire, Ice, & Blue-green Skylights
What they found was a largely untouched island where fire and ice met in the most dramatic way. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, some 795 km west of Scotland, close to the Arctic Circle. Iceland is a county of rich history and richer landscape! With almost 80% of the country uninhabited, much of Iceland’s terrain consists of plateaux’s, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. There are many long, deep fjords and glaciers, including Europe’s largest, Vatnajökull. The landscape is characterized by waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and seemingly “otherworldly” steaming lava fields.
Northern Lights can also be viewed in Iceland between September and April. Iceland is treated to magnificent views of the blue-green sky phenomenon. The Aurora Borealis, more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights, takes its name from the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas.
Volcanic activity is a fact of life in Iceland, where people have learned to live with both its drawbacks and considerable advantages. The natural geothermal energy heats Over 90% of housing in Iceland, one of the cheapest and cleanest forms of energy in existence. Hot springs can be found almost everywhere with the meltwater, created by sub-glacial volcanos, providing the country with a potential source of hydroelectric power. All this clean energy has made Iceland one of the least polluted countries in the world.
Today, some 7 years later, visitors are reaping the benefits of that initial “boom”… Forbes Magazine recently reported that due to the high increase of tourism into the region, the number of hotel rooms is expected to increase by 50% in the next two to four years, along with an expansion of the Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, and a new waterfront Concert Hall and Conference Centre.
Winter is here…
Currently, visitors have a limited bouquet of 3 and 4-star hotels to choose from. In addition to the guest houses and backpackers lodges, soon popular 5-star properties will start hone in on the wonder that is Iceland. Along with these popular chains will come an increase in prices of transport, food, and activities, so choose wisely on when to go…
Once there, however, the hotel becomes just a place to lay your head and grab a shower, before you head out to explore the real call of Iceland. Being a geothermal area, a visit to the local pools is a must. Here visitors can enjoy various health benefits while interacting with the friendly locals. Once that is out the way, pick your choice of adrenalin rush, from whale watching to hiking colourful mountains, lava fields, black sand beaches or glaciers. Visit an ice cave, or try your hand at a snowmobile. Visit a volcano by jeep or snorkel the clear waters of Silfra Lagoon. Game of Thrones fans can also visit the numerous sights where the series has been filmed!
Iceland is blessed with an abundance of fresh water, clean nature, and fertile fishing grounds, while geothermal energy makes it possible to supply a year-round offering of fresh vegetables, grown locally in organic greenhouses. In the past few years, Iceland has emerged as one of Europe’s most dynamic gastronomic destinations. Iceland is full of interesting places to taste exciting new recipes. Chefs create modern dishes with traditional ingredients, influenced by the philosophy of the New Nordic Cuisine, where freshness and local seasonal ingredients play a vital role.
And it’s not all fish! Icelandic lamb is also very popular. In the countryside, sheep are left to roam for most of the year – the very definition of organic. Other options include beef, poultry, pork and game on offer. Iceland has also jumped on the trend of specialty vegetarian restaurants, popping up across the capital.
Truly inspired incentive travel
This land of black and white and green is fast becoming the must-see destination for international visitors from near and far. Come on over and let Iceland set you aflame!
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