Unconventional is the new mantra of MICE travel and Iceland is everything but conventional
When it comes to the MICE sector in Iceland, we have high hopes for the future. Iceland has over the last several years built up a reputation for reliability, high tech infrastructure, service excellence with flexibility, and accessible flight connections to and from North America and Europe – in addition to highlighting the new mantra of MICE travel: Unconventional.
What makes us Unconventional? It all begins with our strong connection to nature; a connection that can only be experienced, not described. Iceland is a small country by most measures (103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi)) but surprising to many, it is larger than certain European countries, i.e. Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and Austria. Iceland houses 800 hot springs, 10,000 waterfalls, 125 volcanoes, Europe’s largest glacier, black beaches, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
Throughout the greater part of recorded history Icelanders lived mostly isolated from the world, in extreme weather, which created a limited way of life. Today we have learned to live in cold climates by inventing a more resourceful lifestyle, including growing produce in sustainable greenhouses during the cold winter months. We continue to create an exciting and unconventional way of life which gives us the flexibility and resourcefulness needed to make Iceland a successful MICE destination.
The population of Iceland has grown a lot in the last decades, but we are still the most sparsely populated country in Europe. We rank amongst the most developed countries in the world. More importantly though, it is one of the safest, cleanest and most liberal.
Iceland has always inspired curiosity, an important element for successful conferences, incentive tours, and other functions. MICE visitors continue to elevate the Icelandic economy. Last year we welcomed an estimate of 120.000 international MICE travelers. The number has been growing steadily since the opening of Harpa conference hall and convention center in 2011, calculating an average of 14,4% annually.
Reykjavík and Iceland attracted 283 international meetings or conferences last year that were attended by 44.800 international business guests. Close to 27.000 International Incentive guests went snowmobiling, white-water rafting, horseback riding, hiking, whale-watching, cave exploration and/or took advantage of our numerous geothermal spas. (To name a few favorite activities in the land of fire and ice).
It’s estimated that the export production value of MICE service in Iceland was close to 400 million US dollars in 2017. It might not seem like a significant number on an International scale, but for an island of 340.000 souls, it’s a welcome boost.