This Month we get to know better Iceland Travel ehf.
Tell us your story. How did Iceland Travel ehf. get started?
Iceland Travel ehf. was founded in 1937 with a mission to introduce travelers to the captivating landscapes of Iceland. Over the years, our commitment to delivering excellent travel experiences and exceptional service has propelled us to become a leading tour company in Iceland.
In 2021, we became a part of the Travel Connect group, a consortium of reputable travel brands. This strategic integration reflects our dedication to excellence and allows us to leverage collective strengths for enhanced customer satisfaction. Iceland Travel continues to lead in the travel industry with a history and a focus on delivering unique travel experiences.
What sets Iceland Travel ehf. apart?
Within the Travel Connect group the travel agencies Iceland Travel, Nine Worlds, Nordic Visitor, Terra Nova, and Iceland Tours are members of Travelife. This is an internationally recognized training, management, and certification program for sustainability in tourism. Travelife is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Travelife has a 3-stage approach, and Iceland Travel is currently at the second stage, Travelife Partner. Travel Connect and its brands, including Iceland Travel, are the first in Iceland to have achieved this certification.
Now, we are working towards the third and final level, Travelife Certified. To reach Travelife Certified, we must meet further sustainability criteria grouped into 5 key areas: office operations, product development, working with suppliers, customer relations, and destinations. We have already passed the desk top audit for Travelife Certified, and hopefully the 3rd party independent audit will be completed in the next few weeks, and thereby granting Iceland Travel the status of Travelife Certified.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
One of our most notable success stories was working with one of our clients in 2019 for a conference called "What Drives a Black Hole." Their interest was to host the conference in Iceland, and planning progressed throughout that year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had to be rescheduled twice—first in March 2020 and again in March 2021.
In early 2022, with COVID-19 situation improving in Iceland, we contacted the organizers to discuss the possibility of resuming the conference plans. Despite the pandemic's impact, we were able to navigate the strict border controls and protocols in place at the time. We provided the participants with information on the travel requirements, including presenting a negative test before boarding their flight to Iceland & vaccination.
Fortunately, by the time the conference took place, all travel restrictions had been lifted. The event went smoothly, and the organizing committee expressed satisfaction with our dedication and flexibility during such challenging circumstances. This conference marked a significant achievement, especially considering the numerous hurdles.
Interestingly, this conference had faced prior cancellations—
first in 2010 due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. It wasn't until 2019 that the planning resumed. The success of this conference generated positive word-of-mouth, leading to another astronomy conference scheduled for 2024.
In conclusion, our ability to successfully host the "What Drives a Black Hole" conference despite the challenges of a global pandemic highlights our commitment and adaptability in delivering successful events for our clients.
Another greatly successful event was when Iceland Travel Conference Team was able to hold the annual Arctic Circle assembly in 2021. During unprecedented global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel restrictions, health concerns, and uncertain circumstances, the prospects of hosting a large-scale event seemed daunting.
However, the Iceland Travel Conference teamed together with the Arctic Circle Secretariat, driven by a shared vision and an unyielding commitment to their mission, forged ahead with meticulous planning and a laser-focused approach to health and safety.
Each morning of the conference began with an essential ritual: COVID-19 testing for all attendees. This rigorous daily testing regimen demonstrated an unwavering commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of every participant. Through a collaborative effort between medical professionals and event staff, the testing process was seamlessly integrated into the conference schedule, setting an unparalleled standard for event safety.
Remarkably, as the days unfolded, the testing yielded a resounding affirmation of the conference's meticulous planning. Amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, not a single positive test emerged among the 1500 attendees. This accomplishment was a testament to the dedication of the organizers, the adherence of participants to safety protocols, and the spirit of unity that pervaded the event.
In the annals of 2021, the story of the Arctic Cricle Assembly shines as a beacon of hope and accomplishment. It stands as a testament to the power of innovation, resilience, and unity, and serves as a reminder that even in the midst of a global pandemic, human ingenuity knows no bounds.
What can we expect to see from Iceland Travel ehf. in the future?
In the near future, Iceland Travel ehf. is set to solidify its position as a leading MICE destination, leveraging our established expertise and strong industry connections. Our focus on sustainability will remain firm.
We are dedicated to integrating responsible practices into our operations, aspiring to not only meet but also set industry benchmarks for environmentally-conscious travel. This approach mirrors our commitment to offering exceptional corporate experiences while maintaining our environmental responsibilities intact. As we move forward, our vision encompasses a harmonious blend of excellence and sustainability in all aspects of our offerings.
Which trends do you see in the Association Meetings?
In the realm of Association Meetings, several discernible trends have been shaping the arena, responding to both industry shifts and attendee preferences. Post-pandemic, the adoption of Hybrid Meetings has surged, accommodating participants' varying comfort levels and travel constraints. We have observed a greater emphasis on Sustainability, aligning with our commitment as well as the conscientious preferences of attendees and organizing committees alike.
An increasing focus on Wellness and Well-being has emerged, with participants seeking mindful respites during meetings. The utilization of Data-Driven Insights has become instrumental in tailoring experiences, ensuring sessions, content, and networking opportunities resonate effectively.
Simultaneously, the spotlight on Diversity and Inclusion is more prominent, calling for equitable representation and inclusive environments within these gatherings.
Heightened attention to Health and Safety measures, catalyzed by recent global events, is paramount in planning and executing successful Association Meetings. Our dedication to addressing these trends underlines our commitment to crafting meaningful experiences that seamlessly adapt to the evolving needs of attendees and the expectations of today's dynamic event arena.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
At Iceland Travel ehf., we are actively addressing the complex challenge posed by the growing popularity of Reykjavik, particularly during peak seasons. Our strategic response involves encouraging conference committees to explore alternative locations beyond the downtown area.
This approach not only alleviates pressure on downtown resources but also fosters enriched interactions among participants through on-site activities. By diversifying conference venues, we remain committed to providing exceptional experiences while navigating the demands of our dynamic industry. As Reykjavik's appeal continues to grow, the diversification of conference venues enhances attendee experiences, contributing to a comprehensive journey and greater satisfaction.