A new bid to increase the interest of Icelandic holiday-makers and corporate travellers in the north east of Scotland has been hailed a success by local tourism body VisitAberdeenshire. The Destination Management Organisation held a successful event – Aberdeen Calling Reykjavik – in the Icelandic capital to showcase Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to key tourism professionals.
The trip follows on from the introduction of new direct flight routes to Aberdeen International Airport with Icelandair, and an announcement made earlier this year by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland and Iceland are set to strengthen their tourism connections over the coming months.
VisitAberdeenshire business development manager Jenni Fraser and tourism executive Raeanne Farquhar joined partners from Mercure Hotels, Skene House, Maryculter House Hotel, Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, Aberdeen Altens Hotel, the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa and Simplicity DMC to highlight what the north east has to offer.
During their trip, the group met with over 40 tour operators, travel agents, golf operators, corporate travel professionals and the media in order to encourage travellers from Reykjavik to journey to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Following presentations from participating partners, VisitAberdeenshire hosted one-to-one meetings and a networking event designed to maximise the opportunities available from key international tourism contacts.
Jenni Fraser says, “In 2015, the United Kingdom was the second-most visited country by Icelandic travellers. With over 71% of Icelanders travelling abroad each year, this is an incredibly important market for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to tap into. City and shopping breaks as well as business travel make up over half of all Icelandic international travel, so the north east has a real edge in providing exactly what Icelanders look for in a destination.”
With over 60 world-class golf courses based in the north east of Scotland – including Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links Golf Club– golf is a real attraction for Icelandic tourists. There are over 63,000 golf club members in the Scandinavian country, but with a golfing season of only three to four months, many look abroad to find their next challenge.
Jenni continues, “Golf has long been one of the north east’s strengths, and the golfing professionals we met with in Reykjavik were very keen to learn more about the region. Icelandair’s direct flights from Keflavik Airport allow golf fans – and all Icelandic tourists – a fantastic new opportunity to explore the north east of Scotland.”
Bev Mackinlay, sales manager at Maryculter House Hotel, who attended the event with VisitAberdeenshire, adds, “The trip to Reykjavik was a fantastic experience, and was really worthwhile. Many of the agents we met did not know an awful lot about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, so it was great to be able to explain to them all we have to offer throughout the north east.
“We look forward to working with VisitAberdeenshire in the future to bring tourism professionals over from Iceland to experience the region for themselves, which will aid them in spreading the message throughout the country.”