Sunday, March 31, 2013

Whale watching boosts Grundarfjörður’s income in winter

It was fascinating to learn that winter tourism was non-existent in Grundarfjörður only two years ago. In fact, the town’s main hotel sat empty all winter long. When winter migration patterns brought large numbers of herring to the fjord, orcas followed. Whale watching industry enthusiasts saw an enormous opportunity. They worked with local authorities and entrepreneurs to set up whale watching operations for the first time in 2012.

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.