Sunday, March 31, 2013
In two years’ time, winter tourism has exploded, bringing income and additional employment to the community. The hotel is now fully booked all winter and planning with other entrepreneurs to set up additional attractions and expand economic opportunities to the town. We saw close to 80 orcas during our outing. It is too early to quantify the impact of whale watching, but it is clearly enormously beneficial to the community.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I’ve been counting the days until the return of Game of Thrones to Iceland on April 1. This gripping HBO series has an Icelandic connection as the film crew has been to Iceland twice to film a few scenes “beyond the wall.” We met some of the actors, extras, the director, and producers during one of their visits which made the series all the more interesting. Will Tyrion Lanister make a comeback? Will we see Daenerys’ dragons in action? Will Joffrey’ meanness surprise us? There are so many questions….
Friday, March 29, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
|AP Photo/Peter Morrison 2009|
We were very distressed to hear about the tragic accident when Örvar Arnarson and Andri Már Þórðarson lost their lives when they were trying to get the most out of them. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these young men. We feel as if one of our own were involved.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I am told that over 170,000 tourists went whale watching in Iceland last year and that the industry has been growing at about 10% per year. This is a promising sector: whale-watching employs about 500 people in the 5-month summer season and indirectly generates many other jobs in the tourist industry. The impact is especially strong in Northern Iceland. There is no doubt that whale watching has become one of the most important drivers for generating tourism income in Iceland.
Monday, March 18, 2013
More photos from the reception can be found on the U.S. Embassy Reykjavík Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151384299634576.1073741826.98008554575&type=1
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
The annual meeting of the Confederation of Industries gave attendees an opportunity to peek into the future. One of the three keynote speeches was given by Dr. Laurence Smith from UCLA, who gave us a snapshot of the future based on key drivers such as demographics, natural resources, climate change, and globalization. He painted a picture in which Arctic states, which he dubs the NORCs (the United States, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Russia), become more important as the high north emerges as a key geostrategic region by mid-century. He noted that Arctic nations have moved smartly to work cooperatively in preparing for such a future. One of the other keynote speeches was given by Brad Burnham, a New York-based venture capitalist, who encouraged Iceland to pursue digital network-based investment to take advantage of its geographic location, digital entrepreneurship, and high level of internet penetration. He also urged that industry and government support the work of the Internet Policy Institute at the University of Reykjavik.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Many shared concerns about the potential impact of such an agreement on EFTA and Iceland’s trade position. While many of these questions could not be answered, the event provided the Icelandic business community with a great opportunity to begin a good discussion on Iceland’s trade policies. I made the point that increasing trade with Iceland is a priority for the United States and noted that the U.S. remains the largest foreign direct investor in Iceland and that American firms continue to flock to Iceland.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Monday, March 4, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
Iceland’s Food and Fun Festival was launched this week offering Icelanders an opportunity to experience the culinary art of chefs from around the world who converge in Reykjavik for one week. As in previous years, chefs from the United States made up a strong contingent, bringing a broad range of styles and creations to Iceland.
As one of my fellow countrymen mentioned at the opening ceremony, the beauty of the Festival is that participating chefs take from Iceland as much they bring with them: new recipes, ingredients, fellowship, and an everlasting connection between Iceland and the United States.