"Whale friendly" is the way forward for Icelandic tourism
In co-operation with the Icelandic Whale Watching Association, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has awarded Icelandair Reykjavík Marina hotel with a certificate for being the first official ‘Whale Friendly’ establishment in Iceland.
Since last June restaurants in downtown Reykjavík and in several towns around Iceland have been invited to participate, so long as they make a promise not to sell whale meat. Restaurant reaction has been very positive, a total of 54 establishments in the country have signed up and now have a whale friendly sticker on their premises, with 37 restaurants in downtown Reykjavík participating, roughly half of all restaurants around the capital.
The whale friendly concept is part of the ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign IFAW started in 2011.
Since then, more than 200 volunteers have talked to tourists on the streets of Reykjavík, asking them to sign postcards addressed to the Minister of Fisheries, urging him to stop the whaling; and tourists also pledge not to eat whale meat in Iceland by signing these postcards.
One of the reasons this campaign is carried out is because last year over 22% of 1,300 tourists leaving Iceland said they had tasted whale meat while in the country. Evidently, most tourists taste it in restaurants. In comparison, only 5% of Icelanders say they have whale meat regularly according to a recent Gallup survey.
It is important that Icelandair Reykjavík Marina seized the initiative to become the first whale friendly establishment in Iceland, since it is one of the seven hotels in the Icelandair chain of hotels.
Icelandair is a superpower in Iceland’s growing tourism sector and a respected company both domestically and abroad.
As Snorri Thors, the hotel manager, proudly accepted the award, the message was clear: becoming whale friendly is the way forward for Icelandic tourism.
More information on whale friendly establishments in Iceland can be found on the Ice Whale website.