The journey commerce present for Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Vestnorden returned this month for its 36th staging on the Reykjanes peninsular. The occasion opened to almost 500 friends in particular person, following a digital showcase in 2020.
Organised by the North Atlantic Tourism Affiliation (NATA), Vestnorden was held at Hljómahöl Music & Convention Middle on the Icelandic Museum of Rock & Roll. Sure, such a spot does exist! The occasion welcomed exhibitors from journey corporations all through the Nordic area and consumers from world wide. Contributors had been invited to participate in particular excursions of the locations pre- and post-event so consumers had the prospect to expertise all three locations in particular person.
After a tumultuous yr for the journey sector, representatives from the Nordic locations had been eager to push a way of optimism and innovation. As Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, head of Go to Iceland, explains to Breaking Journey Information: “I believe it’s so vital, the collaboration that we now have between these nations; we see there’s a number of similarities between us and the way we try to current ourselves to the world.
“As ‘the cool north,’ or with sustainability and equality – there are such a lot of traits you need individuals to affiliate with the Nordics.”
Hjörtur Smarason, chief government of Go to Greenland, agrees, suggesting multi-stop journeys are an effective way to discover. He continues: “I believe it’s very, crucial that we’re combining the three nations. There’s a number of synergy between all of the islands. They’ve a number of the identical market segments and the identical goal teams – to usher in new brokers from all world wide which are on this area makes a number of sense. And right here you will have the chance to fulfill individuals in particular person and get to know them higher, construct up the connection between a provider and an agent. And that is simply essential for growth.“
Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, head of Go to Iceland, led discussions because the occasion returned
The locations have used the challenges of the previous 18-months to push ahead and emerge as leaders and innovators within the business. As Oddný Arnarsdóttir, liaison for Iceland wellness sector and organiser of Vestnorden, describes: “We shifted our focus. We took time. We dug deeper. We acknowledged our strengths and in addition our weaknesses. And by doing so, we’ve generated a larger selection in tourism service throughout the nation, in all of the areas, across the yr.” From new, distinctive experiences, small scale, native, sustainable, bespoke merchandise – from Michelin-starred eating places to genuine eating experiences or front room live shows hosted by locals – the Nordic locations supply experiences which are in contrast to something discovered wherever else.”
Sustainability emerged as a key theme, with Arnarsdóttir describing environmental affect as “the pink thread that runs by means of our operations”.
Guðmundsdóttir elaborates: “Now we have this for the tourism coverage particularly – however we even have this for all export industries in Iceland – to be main in sustainability. So that is undoubtedly one thing that the federal government could be very centered on. It was tied into each main motion to assist. Can we do that in a extra sustainable manner? And does this match with our general purpose, which is about sustainability in 2030? And I believe that is essential.”
Hjörtur Smarason, chief government of Go to Greenland, mentioned how the vacation spot was recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic
All three areas are conscious about the consequences of local weather change on their fragile and distinctive ecosystems. Smarason explains: “These are very delicate environments; delicate environments the place you actually need to consider the affect of tourism. It’s additionally a necessity since you received’t survive for lengthy as a tourism vacation spot if you don’t embody sustainability when the whole lot is so fragile.”
The locations proximity to the polar area actually places them on the entrance line of local weather change the place the consequences are seen – however this issue additionally appears to create an urgency and innovation within the nations’ responses to those challenges.
Guðrið Højgaard, chief government of Go to Faroe Islands explains: “Our model is our distinctive promoting level, and the truth that whereas increasingly more locations are getting increasingly more alike, our islands stay genuine and distinctive, and we wish them to stay so – growing sustainably.”
Over the past 18-months, the place Covid-19 introduced unprecedented disruptions to the journey business, the Nordic locations had been progressive in creating infrastructure whereas additionally utilizing the time to maintain the conversations going with their prospects. They did this by creating profitable advertising and marketing campaigns, resembling Let all of it out from Iceland, which acquired international acclaim, and the Faroe Islands’ Distant Tourism, an in depth interactive expertise which introduced quite a lot of press.
Guðrið Højgaard, chief government of Go to Faroe Islands, argued sustainability have to be central to the work of the organisation
These recent methods of approaching tourism in troublesome circumstances are indicative of the areas of focus at Vestnorden and the promoting factors of the Nordic area generally: trendy, progressive, inclusive and all the time with a really feel for the environmental affect of each side of the business. Regardless of speak of overtourism, pre-Covid-19, the locations are additionally comparatively undeveloped markets with house for innovation and new merchandise. That is significantly the case for Greenland, which celebrates new transport routes opening up the vacation spot for brand new growth potentialities.
The temper on the commerce present was elated as many individuals had been travelling for the primary time since Covid-19. Round 3,400 conferences, excursions and experiences, a gap celebration held on the Blue Lagoon and a raucous closing dinner saved the convention buzzing all through. As Guðmundsdóttir places it: “Final yr, we did the primary ever digital model of this, and we had 1,300 conferences. However that doesn’t exchange the face-to-face, assembly individuals to take a seat collectively, speak, but additionally informally, to get collectively…. In order that’s additionally one other side of why that is so vital. We had been very comfortable that we had been in a position to do in- particular person.”
It’s nonetheless too early to see how the business will change and get better as we enter the post-pandemic world, however emotions are optimistic – with numbers growing as every market sector opens up and restrictions start to raise. One pattern appears to be a shift in direction of longer stays and better spending as shoppers search once-in-a-lifetime experiences and true escapes from the on a regular basis. Added to this, as distant working turns into the norm, travellers can be eager to entry locations for prolonged stays, with extra significant and in-depth interactions with places.
As Guðmundsdóttir concludes: “Lots of people need their journey perhaps to imply extra, they usually’ve been saving up loads to get to do extra matters. I believe that’s a really constructive pattern and hopefully that can proceed. I believe that’s extra sustainable too. I believe individuals wish to get again to normalcy, as a result of I journey is such a pleasure.”
For extra info on Vestnorden, head over to the official web site, or there may be extra on the North Atlantic Tourism Affiliation right here.
Phrases and pictures: Sapphire Goss
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