Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Whale watching – a force multiplier for the tourism industry

Mary and I had the opportunity to go out and enjoy the wonders of whale watching just a few minutes outside of Reykjavik. The day was absolutely perfect with no wind and endless visibility. We saw hundreds of dolphins and majestic humpback whales cavorting in the ocean. One could see the joy in the tourists’ faces when observing these beautiful and graceful mammals only a few yards away.

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.