Contrary to what the name may suggest, Iceland, which benefits from warming effects of Gulf Stream, thus enjoying temperate climate all year round, ushered in five times its 3.2 million populations as tourist last year, 65% of which happened to be Indians.
H.E Thorir Ibsen, Ambassador of Iceland, broached those facts and some others while in city on a road-show to promote Iceland. Being sparsely peopled it has on average 1 person per 2.5Km thus there’s enough solitude to be found as is clean air, pure water, unspoiled nature and mesmerizing landscape. And all of it can be experienced, via accessible 500-600Kms of roadways that goes N-S and E-W, in a week by walking about!
The biggest impetus that its tourism received was clearly from film-industry both Indian and Hollywood. With film like Oblivion, The Game of Thrones, Thor, Star Trek, Batman, James Bond, etc being shot their the spectacular locations are bringing in tourists in droves. In turn professional services and government incentives are making Iceland a sought after filming proposition what with government reimbursing 20-25% of on-location shoot cost. The reimbursement scheme is simple, transparent and effective. And since Iceland is a member of the EU single market, films and television programs made in Iceland are classified as European material when released in Europe. There are currently 5 ongoing productions with 2-3 up-coming ones in next few months.
There’s no respite from incentives to visit Iceland – the largest bird colony -that of puffin is found there; there’s the fjords, geothermal water geysers, glaciers, black-sand beach, lava fields, floating icebergs, majestic waterfalls, stark highlands, steam emitting red and yellow sulphur mountains, active and dormant volcanoes- then there’s the almost mythic aurora borealis, which can be seen best between December and January, though ‘Northern lights’ commence the exposition October through February, the ideal months to visit the country. Between June to August one can partake in 24 hrs golf.
They have expertise in renewable energy, food processing technologies, environmental technology, digital technology, medical devices, fashion, design, cosmetics and such. The cultural and gastronomic scene is no less thriving – their signature music festival Airwaves, Arts, Adventure sports will have you enrapt.
The only caveat – it’s a bit on the expensive side, though backpackers are habitually seen as well.
Visiting Iceland which seems far is no problem at all as all international major airlines ply their trade there. More information can be gleaned at: www.Iceland.is. Those into environment-tourism can mine info from Vakinn site.