Archive for the ‘Iceland’ Category

Iceland, Colombia, Vietnam Top List of Emerging Destinations for 2018, US Tour Operators Say

February 12, 2018

Iceland was named top emerging or “off-the-beaten-path” destination for 2018 by US tour operators © Karen Rubin/

NEW YORK – In a survey of US tour operators, Iceland was named top emerging or “off-the-beaten-path” destination for 2018, moving to the top spot from second in last year’s member survey.  Colombia followed in second, with Vietnam named as third.

When asked for the five most popular or “hot” international destinations for travelers in 2018, members of the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) named Australia, Spain, Iceland and Italy (tied for third), France, and Japan.  On the domestic front, USTOA members forecast California, Florida and Hawaii (tied for second), New York, Alaska and Nevada (tied for fourth) and Washington DC as the most popular U.S. destinations for clients in 2018.

Members were also asked to name the destinations/sites most “at risk” from disappearing (from over-tourism, climate change or other factors) that travelers should see now. The top three chosen were Antarctica, Cuba and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Arts and culture, adventure, family, and culinary were cited as the most popular travel categories for passengers by survey participants.

In the annual survey of travel forecasts and trends, the tour operators report a strikingly positive outlook for the industry in the year ahead.  Nearly all (95%) USTOA tour operator members anticipate growth in sales for the year ending in 2018. Two thirds (64%) of members are “optimistic” and forecasting a “boom year” with growth anywhere from seven to 10% or higher.

After strong sales increases in 2017, “Member confidence levels for continued growth in 2018 are high,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO for USTOA.  “The reported growth and positive projections the year ahead are particularly encouraging. It speaks soundly to the remarkable resilience of both our industry as well as today’s traveler, who continues to explore, despite the challenges of an ever-changing world.”

While USTOA tour operator members view the forthcoming year with strong optimism, they also addressed the global risks that could impact potential growth in 2018. Terrorism is cited as the biggest threat to consumer confidence, followed by political instability, and global financial instability named third.

In addition, when asked which global events could have the greatest impact for the travel industry in 2018, more than one third (38%) named the sharing economy; a little more than a quarter (28%) cited the Chinese market.

Representing nearly $15 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 8.6 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe.   Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business. As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents. For more information on USTOA, visit


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Reykjavik, Iceland is Mecca for Design and Fashion Festivals This Spring

February 9, 2014
The enchantment of the Blue Lagoon is within easy reach of Reykjavik, Iceland © 2014 Karen Rubin/

The enchantment of the Blue Lagoon is within easy reach of Reykjavik, Iceland © 2014 Karen Rubin/

Reykjavik will become a mecca for design and fashion with DesignMarch and Reykjavik Fashion Festival running alongside each other from March 27-30. Sonar music festival makes its way to Iceland for the 2nd Sonar Reykjavik, and the Iceland Winter Games kick off in Akureyri. Here’s more of what’s happening in Iceland this season:

DesignMarch- March 27- 30
March 27 to 30 will see Reykjavik become a design mecca with the fifth annual DesignMarch. DesignMarch 2014 is set to be the festival’s biggest year yet with an expected 150 events. The world’s northernmost capital will become the ultimate venue for design. Visitors can experience everything from fashion design and furniture exhibitions to architectural talks and open studios. The festival will showcase the best of the local design scene alongside exciting international names like Calvin Klein, who is set to speak at DesignTalks, the opening seminar of DesignMarch. Not convinced? Check out the 10 reasons you should go to DesignMarch and see how to get there via Icelandair.

Reykjavik Fashion Festival – March 27 to 30
Calvin Klein is coming to town at the right time. Reykjavik Fashion Festivalwill run alongside DesignMarch from March 27 to 30. The Festival will once again showcase a host of established and up and coming designers. Ones to watch include Guðmundur Jörundsson, whose label JÖR is a futuristic take on classic tailoring. Ziska, who has designed successful collections for Galleri Sautjan and E-Label as well as winning the Reykjavik Runway Design Competition in 2011, and ELLA, a slow fashion brand created by Elinros Lindal and a team of talented women, built on sophistication, respect and responsibility.

Icelandic Design Secrets
Guido’s Street Art – Move over Banksy, walls in Reykjavík have been given a dramatic new look thanks to the creative skills of underground street artist Guido. His larger than life murals are made using images from Iceland’s theatrical past, selected from the archives at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography. Guido has literally changed the face of Reykjavik’s buildings. See more here.
Katrín Sigurðardóttir- Iceland is bursting with great art and artists. Check out ‘Foundation’ by New York based Icelandic artist Katrín Sigurðardóttir in the Reykjavík Art Museum until April 12th, before it is whisked off to the Sculpture Center in New York. This large-scale piece is made up of baroque-inspired tiles, which map out the floor of an imaginary 18thcentury pavilion. Katrín’s work has been show extensively throughout Europe and America. She also represented Iceland with ‘Foundation’ at the Venice Biennale, festival of contemporary arts in 2013.
Omnom Chocolate –  Chocolate lovers! Omnom Chocolate is a new, hand made, organic chocolate producer in Iceland. The company is a collaboration between Óskar Þórðarson, Kjartan Gíslason, Karl Viggó Vigfússon and André Úlfur Visage, who made the package design. “The box represents a secret chest of happiness. The process of opening it up and the option of closing it again was important to me, in stead of a throw away wrapper. It double serves as a tray while sharing and enjoying Omnom and also a safety chest to protect any uneaten chocolate safely and neatly” André explains. The next line of bars will be out in February, keeping the same functionality of the packaging, with a new series of illustrations to go with the newly developed flavours. Get a bigger taste here.

Iceland Winter Games – March 6-9
The Iceland Winter Games 2014 is the northernmost ski and snowboarding competition of the season. This is the inaugural year of the festival, being held between March 6-9. Iceland’s first ever AFP slopestyle competition will take place on the picturesque mountain Hlíðarfjall in Akureyri, the ski capital of Iceland. It’s a unique opportunity for skiers and followers to discover and experience this truly magnificent town, close to the Arctic Circle. After the slopes, the town of Akureyri will play host to off venue events, parties, DJs and concerts. Find out more about the competition and check out how to get there.

Winter Festivals
It’s not just design and fashion festivals dominating the event calendar in Iceland. See the long winter nights in Reykjavik illuminated at the Winter Lights Festival from February 6-15. Reykjavik’s buildings and public spaces will come to life as colourful light-art installations are exhibited throughout the city. The world-renowned music festival Sonar makes its way to Reykjavik from February 13-15. Held for the second time, Sonar Reykjavik will feature established international acts such as Major Laser, Jon Hopkins and Bonobo as well as homegrown Icelandic talent such as Sisy Ey, Hermigervill and HE. If folk is more your thing, check out the Reykjavik Folk Festival from March 7-9. It’s the third year of the festival, held at Kex Hostel.

For more visit

See also:

Enchantment of Blue Lagoon is within reach of Reykjavik stopover on Icelandair and slideshow

Classic bus tour is best way to discover Iceland’s unique landscape, heritage and slideshow

With Iceland at global crossroads, Harpa gives Reykjavik place on world stage and slideshow

Trip down National Highway reveals why Iceland is literally land of fire and ice and slideshow

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