The Busi­ness End

Reykjavik Business Travel Guide - - BUSINESS TRAVEL -

INI­TIALLY FOUNDED in 1786 as a trad­ing town, its sig­nif­i­cance as a na­tional and re­gional core of po­lit­i­cal, busi­ness and so­cial de­vel­op­ment has cul­mi­nated in a mod­ern day sta­tus as one of the safest and green­est ci­ties in the world once com­bined with the pe­riph­eral, or­ganic promi­nence of the area.

Sub­se­quently be­com­ing the cen­tre of Ice­land’s over­all growth through­out the cen­turies, it is per­haps a lit­tle un­fair that its no­to­ri­ety in more re­cent times has come virtue of the 2008 eco­nomic melt­down in the coun­try. Just two years on from be­ing named the rich­est city in the world by The Econ­o­mist Group in 2007, the coun­try was thrown into dis­ar­ray by 2009, as nu­mer­ous projects were halted, in­vest­ments were no longer a vi­able op­tion and for­eign busi­ness in­ter­est waned.

For any other city, this would be an ir­repara­ble dis­as­ter, but for a coun­try that has pri­mar­ily al­ways re­lied on plus-points un­tainted by board­room im­pli­ca­tions, there is now a north­ern light at the end of the tun­nel.

“The tourism in­dus­try is to­day the largest rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing in­dus­try for Ice­land. The Gov­ern­ment has been putting more em­pha­sis on the in­dus­try with a long-term em­pha­sis on sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture,” Sig­urðar­son ex­plains. “In 2012, Ice­land had the high­est sea­son­al­ity among the Nordic coun­tries. Only three years later it de­creased by more than 20 per­cent though, mean­ing that the in­crease in vis­i­tor ar­rivals is hap­pen­ing in off­sea­son months. At the same time, vis­i­tor guest nights have in­creased by 18-31 per­cent - on av­er­age - year-onyear in every re­gion of Ice­land.

“This all pro­vides more sus­tain­abil­ity as well as cre­at­ing a whole year-round in­dus­try which was not the case be­fore.

“Tourism has been the only jobcre­at­ing in­dus­try since the fi­nan­cial re­ces­sion, in­creas­ing em­ploy­ment from around 11,000 in 2011 to 25,000 to­day; ac­count­ing for 13 per­cent of the Ice­landic work­force. In 2015, the tourism sec­tor con­trib­uted seven per­cent to the na­tional GDP, com­pared to four per­cent a few years ago.”

Land­man­nalau­gar, South Ice­land

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