Iceland Ranks at Top of 2010 Environmental Performance Index

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Iceland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, according to the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University. This is the third edition of the EPI, which has been revisited biannually since 2006.

Presented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, the EPI ranks 163 countries on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into ten categories including: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change.

Iceland’s top-notch performance derives from its high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation. Other top performers include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, and Norway – all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability.

Iceland receives ICCA Best Marketing Award

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The Inspired by Iceland campaign and the Iceland Convention & Incentive Bureau (ICIB) are presented with the ICCA Best Marketing Award in Hyderabad, India on 27 October 2010.

The aftermath of the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier and the ash clouds that followed are well known in the Meeting industry. But with a wave of cancellations across all sectors and what looked to be a catastrophic summer for tourism in Iceland, the real threat that emerged became the potential long-term consequences for the country’s tourism industry as a whole.

During the recent ICCA conference in Hyderabad, these challenges and the action taken by the Icelandic government, the city of Reykjavík and about 80 tourism-related companies where outlined, which resulted in the incredibly successful “Inspired by Iceland” marketing campaign. The campaign included e.g. Iceland Hour where 1/3 of the Iceland´s population participated in telling people that there has never been a better time to visit.

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA, commented on his organisation’s award: “This year’s BMA competition was as tough as we’ve ever seen, and once more we’ve got a very worthy winner!  The ICCA Best Marketing Award doesn’t exist simply to reward excellent work: it’s there to recognise the most unique and brilliant marketing concepts that our industry can create. Turning a disaster like the volcanic eruption into such a positive result, harnessing the power of a whole nation in a way we’ve never seen before, is a fantastic and inspiring marketing story.”

The reward is first and foremost an acknowledgement of the work achieved after the eruption started.  It will help those involved in the country’s Meeting industry to showcase one of the key strengths that characterises Iceland as a destination—that as an industry we are quick to adapt and respond to different challenges.

Katrín Júlíusdóttir, Minister of Industry in Iceland, commented: “To see so many people back our campaign has been incredible. We’ve been able to tell the world that Iceland is a country that can inspire anyone who comes here. Receiving the ICCA award for the campaign is therefore a great honour and reward for everyone who has been a part of it.”

For more information on the country’s potential for meetings or incentive trips, visit the Iceland Convention & Incentive Bureau at www.icelandconvention.com and join us on Inspired by Iceland www.inspiredbyiceland.com.

Inspired by Iceland is a joint marketing effort by the Icelandic government, the city of Reykjavík, Icelandair, Iceland Express, Promote Iceland and around 80 tourism-related companies in Iceland.

Photo: Anna Valdimarsdóttir, managing director of Iceland Convention & Incentive Bureau (center) received the award.

Official first day of winter celebrated

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Last Saturday Icelanders celebrated the official first day of winter. Iceland is a country for all seasons and winter is an exciting time to visit the land of ice and fire.

Winter in Iceland is the time of amazing contrasts. Peaceful white snow accentuates the black lava fields, resulting in magical artistry. In the evening the blackness of the sky may be suddenly disturbed by dancing, flickering veils of light, in green, white or red, for the northern lights are often visible in cold, clear weather. You could well imagine that the snowstorms and winds that sometimes sweep over the country are vying for some great prize, but they always lose their battle: after a while everything returns to stillness and tranquility, and the land is pristine, as if just reborn. Winter is a great time for cross-country skiing and you don’t need to go far from Reykjavík to find yourself surrounded by scenic landscapes and tremendous views.

Iceland Airwaves 2010

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It’s 4 a.m. You’ve been tofiive cool clubs, seen ten great bands, made fifteen new friends and fallen in love twenty times. You’re tired. You’re wired. You’re ready to find a bed. You’re ready to find the after-party. You can’t believe you’re here. You’re already making plans to come back next year. And guess what? It’s still Day One. Iceland Airwaves 2010 vill be held October 13-17.

Since the first edition was held in 1999 (in an airplane hangar), Iceland Airwaves has become one of the premier annual showcases for new music – Icelandic and otherwise – in the world. It’s made a heap of friends and won many fans along the way, and been lavished with praise pretty much everywhere they write about music. Example: Rolling Stone magazine called it “The hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar.”

Some of the world’s most exciting artists have performed there, too. The Shins, The Rapture, TV On The Radio, Florence and the Machine, Klaxons, Hot Chip, Flaming Lips, Wolf Parade, Bloc Party and Fatboy Slim have made the short hop from Europe or North America to share the stages with Iceland’s finest talents, including bands such as Sigur Rós, FM Belfast, GusGus, múm, Singapore Sling and Dr Spock, to name but a few. And when the live bands have done their thing, top DJs from all over the world spin across the city until the crack of dawn.

But there’s more to Airwaves than music. Reykjavík is quite possibly the perfect festival city – small enough to be welcoming, sophisticated enough to offer cultural, historical and nightlife diversions to rival cities ten times its size. Maybe twenty. Who knows? And it’s surrounded by some of the most unique and astonishing natural beauty you’re ever likely to see (this is a grand statement, but you should just see it).

Roll out of bed, hose the party remains out of your hair and hop on a bus. Before you can remember what you did the night before, you’re looking at geysers, waterfalls, lava fields – all the best that a volcanic island has to offer, including the world-famous Blue Lagoon, favorite soaking spot of the international hung-over glitterati. Mmm! You can really taste the hipster!

Yoko celebrates Lennon’s 70th birthday in Reykjavik

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Legendary artist, musician and peace advocate, YOKO ONO, will be holding several events in Reykjavík, Iceland on October 9th to promote peace throughout the world and to celebrate what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

The Lennon Ono Grant for Peace was created to honor her late husband John Lennon’s dedication to peace and commitment to the preservation of human rights. Created in 2002, this biennial award has always been given to two recipients. To mark this special anniversary year, Yoko Ono will be presenting this award to four recipients who have been selected based on their courage and commitment to peace, truth and human rights.