News 2009

December 2009

Tourism publications in Iceland

Every year the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre organises sessions on tourism at Þjóðarspegill, the social sciences conference held by the University of Iceland. Þjóðarspegill is by far the largest conference where Icelandic scholars of social science meet and exchange research results and is held each autumn. Since 2007 the ITRC has held two sessions on tourism and those presenting have an article published in the conference proceedings, edited by Ingjaldur Hannibalsson, professor of business and economics of the University of Iceland. The ITRC has published separately the tourism articles in addition to the conference proceedings publications and these are to be found on a CD-ROM and now on a web domain set up for them. Some of the published material is in English and can be viewed here.  


November 2009

New reports out soon

The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre will in the coming weeks publish several reports ranging from tourism and recreation impact assessments to nature-based tourism potential in Polish national parks. The Blanda power lines have been evaluated in terms of their tourism impact, as has the building site of the smelter proposed at Bakki been evaluated. A detailed report on images and image use in tourism is due in English as is another report on the nature-based tourism challenges and opportunities in the Tatra National Park in S. Poland, also in English. The report summarising findings of the departure survey done on international flights from Akureyri airport this summer is due soon, as are drafts of a strategic plan for Eyjafjörður along with survey results from second homes in the regions.

Further queries about these reports can be directed at the director Edward H. Huijbens,


September 2009

Environmental awareness and management – new report

The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre with Efla engineering and the University of Iceland has published a report on Environmental awareness and environmental management practices, based on interviews with tourism stakeholders and tourists in the Vatnajökull National Park.

Environmental management is gaining in importance worldwide and many deem it timely that people start to act sustainably. The role of environmental management in tourism has concomitantly gained importance with growing number of environmental standards for sustainable tourism. The increased environmental awareness of tourists has also led to demands that companies act responsibly when it comes to the environment. In the last decade tourism in Iceland has grown massively and indicators point towards even more growth with tourism now being recognised as a founding pillar of the economy.

Iceland’s largest attraction is nature. To protect and maintain this attraction it is importance that Iceland keeps pace with international developments in sustainable tourism. This report is to contribute to this.


August 2009


Nature-tourism product development based on the National Geographic Geotourism Charter

Workshop in Hótel Gígur, Mývatnssveit 2nd – 4th September 2009

The sustainability of tourism in Iceland has been on the agenda for over a decade, resulting in the adoption of several certification schemes and policies from national through to regional stakeholders. These schemes are specific to certain business operations, e.g. transportation, hotel management, municipal environmental policies and more. Hitherto no scheme has been introduced to manage nature-based destinations in Iceland with special emphasis on the maintenance of the physical integrity of the destination.

Mývatn and the surrounding area is well known for its varied natural attractions. Key to the destinations success is nature‘s physical integrity and a mutually beneficial relationship to tourism in the area. The National Geographic Geotourism Charter offers a way to develop products around these nature based attractions that adheres to the principals of sustainability with special focus on a place’s physical integrity.

In order to adopt this in the Mývatn area the Regional Development Office (Atthing), in collaboration with the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, IceTrade and Svartárkot Culture/Nature will host a two day workshop at hotel Gígur 2nd till 4th September. The key note presenter and work shop facilitator will be David Newsome, the author of the book Geotourism. Sustainability, Impact, Management (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005).

Those interested are asked to register at, before 24th August 2009


June 2009

Departure survey at Akureyri international airport

The ITRC is this summer conducting a survey amongst all departing passengers on the Iceland Express international flight to Copenhagen (CPH), which leaves twice a week from Akureyri (AEY) in June, July and August. The aim of the survey is to find out the travel practices of those using this service and find out how they travel in the North of Iceland and which services they use. The surveying started on Friday the 19th of June and will end in end August. The survey is done in collaboration with the Icelandic Aviation Authorities, the business faculty of the University of Akureyri and is with insights provided by municipalities in the Eyjafjörður region. The preparation for the survey started in the wake of a workshop about international flights to and from Akureyri, held parallel to the annual conference on social science in Iceland at the University of Akureyri, in beginning May. A survey of this kind has never been done at Akureyri airport, but has been done continually amongst departing passengers at Keflavík International (KEF) near Reykjavík since 2004. The findings of the survey will provide valuable insights into the current debate of having international flights year-round from the Akureyri airport.


April 2009

Tourism workshops

The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre in collaboration with the University of Akureyri and the University of Iceland – Institute of Anthropology, is hosting eight workshop seminars on issues in rural tourism 8th and 9th May. The meetings are held on issues pertaining to N. Iceland and will join tourism stakeholders from various backgrounds in defining and mapping the issues at stake. These will be charted in Mind Manager and will form the basis for future engagements with these issues. The issues include, cruise ship arrivals in small ports, international flights to Akureyri, extreme sports, research and education, tourism resources, success stories from the polar regions, issues of sustainability and more. A full programme is available here in Icelandic


March 2009

The Impact of Krafla II geothermal utility expansion on tourism and recreation

The ITRC has done three tourism impact assessments for the National Power Company (Landsvirkjun) in relation to their projected utilities expansion. The latest report in this series is just out now and deals with the impact on tourism and recreation of the expansion of the geo-thermal utility infrastructure at Krafla in NE Iceland.

The report is in Icelandic and is available here.


February 2009

Two grants from the Nordic Innovation Centre

The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre has been awarded two grants from the Nordic Innovation Centre in collaboration with scholars and colleagues in all the Nordic countries. One project revolves around storytelling and the narratisation of destinations and the second is about Wellness tourism in Nordic countries. The objectives of the former project are to develop user-driven communication technology that will facilitate the creation of a cross-Nordic storytelling interaction. In particular the project will focus on how storytelling is practiced, how it is organized and if and how a specific communication platform can improve storytelling practice in the Nordic countries and function as a means of closer stakeholder cooperation and improved tourist experiences. The latter deals with Nordic Well-being in an innovation perspective and studies how it can be related to developing a particular Nordic content of well-being to be offered by tourism enterprises and destinations across the five Nordic countries. Well-being will be seen as an umbrella and the Nordic Wellness as a more specific segment area within well-being. Firstly, the broader well-being-concept gives each country better possibilities to use their own strengths in marketing. Secondly, Nordic Wellness can be categorised as a sub category of health tourism.  Thirdly, Nordic wellness can also be seen as a more of a psychological than a physical state. It may include various dimensions, like social, physical, emotional, intellectual, environmental, spiritual and occupational.

The projects will run till the end of 2010


January 2009

Sustainable Hunting Tourism

The ITRC is one of three Icelandic partners in a recently funded EU Northern Periphery Programme (NPP). The project deals with developing hunting tourism in Northern Europe (North Hunt) recognising that it can play an important role in rural areas. Sustainable social, ecological and economic activities are crucial for livelihoods in the Northern periphery and North Hunt, a new project involving scientists and practitioners in five countries in the far north, aims to set out the guidelines for hunting tourism development. The North Hunt project is a three year, €1,1 million, international project that has been awarded funding by the European Regional Development Fund within the Northern Periphery Programme. The project is focussed on developing sustainable hunting tourism in rural areas in Northern Europe. North Hunt’s timeframe is 2008-2010 and the research area is the peripheral regions of Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Scotland and Canada. Hjordis Sigursteinsdottir, project leader in Iceland claims; “The transnational partnership provides specialist knowledge on hunting tourism practices in different contexts and will allow the benchmarking of best practices and the establishment of transnational networks. The project is now well on its way through an initial examination of the socioeconomic, cultural and ecological environment.” Hunting tourism could be one potential solution to sustainable game management while also providing a realistic source of income to rural communities in the Northern Periphery. The sector is labour intensive and the income from such nature-based tourism will benefit the local economy in rural regions. North Hunt involves multiple stakeholder groups in developing the sector. Because of extensive public hunting rights and intensive hunting club activities in many of the Northern countries, one of the key elements for success in hunting tourism is adapting to the local hunting culture. “This is why hunting tourism entrepreneurs are closely involved in the project and the development of sustainable hunting tourism products in all five countries”, Hjordis explains and adds: “there is demand for precise figures on the economic value of hunting tourism in order to objectively estimate the potential of the sector as a source of livelihood in the northern periphery. North Hunt gathers entrepreneur and hunter specific economic data to support investment and give an overall idea of the economic significance of the sector. North Hunt will also compare the game monitoring models used in different countries to provide information on sustainable ecological management of hunting tourism.” The team is optimistic that the project will successfully implement sustainable hunting tourism as a business opportunity in rural regions. For further information, please visit our website or contact: 
Hjordis Sigursteinsdottir, tel. +3544608905, e-mail: or Eyrun Jenny Bjarnadottir, tel. +3544608931,