Now that I have experienced Iceland first hand, I am going to reflect on Reykavik and Iceland as a destination. But first, its arguably important to understand the background behind destination management theory.
So, what is destination management? Destination management is the collaboration of many organisations working together to acheive a common tourism image goal, using coherent strategies, whilst still maining inderpendence (UNWTO, 2011).
This model demonstrates the role of destination managers in developing partnerships and implementing a coherent destination management plan to achieve the following objectives;
- Welcome, involve and satisfy Visitors;
- Achieve a profitable and prosperous Industry;
- Engage and benefit host Communities;
- Protect and enhance the local Environment and culture. (UNWTO, 2011)
Throughout this blog I will evaluate each of these areas individually, using my trip and some corresponding research, as a means of concluding my opinions of the overall success of destination management in Iceland.
Before I do this, I firstly would like to reflect on the destination management structure that Iceland currently appears to present.
A big player that seems to exist in Iceland’s DM scene is Promote Iceland, a public-private partnership developed mainly to improve the promotion of Icelandic culture to foreign visitors. It uses co-ordinated promotion and marketing activities including websites such as; Iceland.is, Visiticeland.com and Inspiredbyiceland.com, social media sites, foreign PR activities, media visits and travel exhibitions, to improve the tourism reputation and image of Iceland.
Despite the fact that there does not appear to be an official DM plan released by the government, most of the tourism fuelled organisations that appear on the web all seem to have similar visions in terms of their country’s tourism offerings;
Natural wonders seem to appear top of the list (volcanoes, waterfalls, geothermal pools), as well as the reassurance that a trip to Iceland is less of a trip and more of an experience. Focus is also drawn frequently to the nature of their people, indicating a relaxed, yet insiringly creative ethos amongst locals, which can be reflected in the available activities. Overall, they appear to be playing on a unique selling point, which is that they offer a unique and unusual holiday destination within Europe.
“Iceland is not a destination. It is an adventure. Travel to Iceland to experience the stunning Icelandic nature, the beauty of the rugged landscape and the creativity of the Icelandic people. Come to Iceland to enjoy your vacation, or find the perfect setting for your conference or your incentive trip. Let Iceland be your inspiration.”
After my experiences of Iceland, I could not agree more with their promotional promises and I feel that they are being completely honest with their statements. Furthermore, it is apparent that their stratergy is working well, as Iceland is becoming ever more popular and a desired destination.
Iceland.is. (2017). ‘Travel in Iceland’. Available at: http://www.iceland.is/travel-leisure. Accessed 28th March 2017.
Promote Iceland. (2017). ‘Tourism’. Available at: http://www.islandsstofa.is/en/tourism. Accessed 28th March 2017.
UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation). ‘A Practical Guide to Tourism Destination Management’. Available at: http://destination.unwto.org/content/guide-destination-management. Accessed 28th March 2017.