Some places just naturally stimulate people’s imagination and give them greater energy at the same time. Iceland is one of these places. Inspiring and refreshing, having the fine balance between untouched landscape and top-level venues – whether for events, company meetings, or challenging incentive travel. When it comes to incentive tours or team-building activities, Iceland is the perfect location. We have put together 10 reasons why Iceland is perfect for your post-pandemic incentive travel:
1. Iceland Did Not Need To Go Into Lockdown
Instead of testing selectively, the country allows everyone to undergo testing. Even those without symptoms may be tested. In order to expand its testing abilities, Iceland’s government teamed up with Reykjavik-based subsidiary of the US-based biotechnology company Amgen. The country’s Directorate of Health has said, that tracing the virus to its origin and the country’s mass testing, allowed the government to hold off imposing a lockdown.
Close monitoring has thus ensured that patients receive appropriate care in a timely fashion, avoiding more serious illness. Only 1.5% of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Iceland have needed intensive care, while a rate of 5-10% was reported in comparable countries at the start of the pandemic. At its peak, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care reached only 13 in Iceland.
There has been a ban on gatherings of over 20 people at a time, which means families and friends are still able to make use of some time together with everyone respectful of the 2-meter (6ft) rule between people.
With fewer visitors in Iceland from abroad, Icelanders have used their free time to travel their own country, enjoying life, and supporting each other.
2. International Companies Put Their Trust in Iceland Because of Strong Pandemic Response
With people quarantined around the world during the pandemic, viewership on streaming services such as Netflix has surged, even as production on new content has mostly come to a halt. Even so, Netflix is currently producing material in Iceland, thanks to the strong response in containing and tracking the pandemic.
Netflix’s content chief said that when it comes to production, almost all filming has now been stopped globally, with the exception of only two countries. Iceland is one of the two countries that have been “very aggressive about testing and tracking early,” and “lays out a good framework for future rollouts.” Extensive testing in a country or state is a prerequisite for Netflix relaunching production efforts, he noted.
”We have to be able to look our employees and cast and crew in the eyes and say,
‘This is a safe place to work.’”Sarandos, CCO, Netflix
3. Exclusivity is Easy in Hotels and Restaurants
Extremely large hotels and restaurants are not to be found in Iceland. The largest hotels in the capital city of Reykjavik have a capacity of only a few hundred guests at a time. Many restaurants and venues in Reykjavik offer exclusivity for larger groups.
4. Icelandic Food is Fresh and Clean
Iceland does farm-to-plate dining as second nature. That includes fresh seafood bounty, free-range lamb, and world-known organic dairy products. All are grown sustainably in the clean surroundings of the unspoiled nature of Iceland. And of course, the tap water is pure, clean, tasty – and free.
Fish are especially abundant in Icelandic waters and Iceland has strong seafaring traditions. The catch of the day in most Icelandic restaurants is likely to be cod, ling, or catfish but the variety of seafood is endless. There are prolific fishing grounds around the island, so the time between catching, cooking and eating is sometimes just a matter of hours.
5. Icelanders are Hygienic – Even Love Bathing Outside
Bathing in hot springs has long been a part of the Icelandic culture. And since Iceland has plenty of hot water, outside swimming pools run on geothermal water from boreholes. This is where Iceland’s hot springs meet the city culture – because the swimming pools are a mix of a sport-center, water-slide park, and a spa with hot tubs and steam baths. They are very popular for all ages, families having fun on water-slides while senior citizens discuss the ever-changing weather and politics in the hot tubs. Cold weather and hot water make the perfect combination. Fundamentally, Icelanders are strict about cleanliness and hygiene when it comes to bathing in hot springs and swimming pools, which means everyone must soap up and shower in the nude before entering them.
6. Plenty of Space for Everyone
Iceland is one of the least populated countries in the world. It has a population density of only 3 people per km2. That density is the lowest population density in Europe and among the top ten lowest of all countries in the world. Therefore, the open nature plays a big part in every Icelander’s life.
To show how spacious Iceland is compared to other popular destinations, here are numbers for the state of New York in the USA and the country Greece in Europe. Icelanders are 360,000 in the year 2020 and the country is 103,000 km² (about 40,000 mi²) in size. In comparison, New York State is of similar size, 141,000 km² (47,000 mi²), with a population of almost 20 million in the year 2020. Another example, Greece is 132,000 km² with a population of nearly 11 million.
7. The Advanced Icelandic Health Care System was Prepared in January
Iceland started its targeted testing program in January, one month before the first COVID-19 case was documented in the country. Testing its population from early February, weeks before its first coronavirus-related death. Then, the response ramped up quickly as people became ill.
Because of the small population, officials can respond quickly and data is centralized. Scientists and medical professionals in Iceland work closely on testing, isolating, and tracking cases. Also, the population is given access to extensive data on a daily basis.
Iceland’s healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the world. It is universal and 85% paid for by taxes. Everyone receives equal health care.
8. Fantastic Location for International Groups
Iceland is an island conveniently located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and therefore has very close connections to Europe, USA, and Canada. For a group flying in from many countries, this presents an opportunity to enjoy a short flight and a limited time difference.
A remote island with few and highly monitored entry points that still has excellent and frequent international flight connections.
9. Crisp Clean Cool Air and Can-Do Attitude
Clean and fresh air is one of the nation’s pride. The island is sometimes cool and windy, being located in the Arctic area of the world, but the wind blows away pollution – leaving the Icelandic air crisp, healthy, and fresh.
Icelanders also pride themselves on a “can-do attitude,” that is rich in their culture. The lines of communication are always short, and people are willing to go the extra mile to make things happen. Weather conditions and close proximity to nature have taught Icelanders to be flexible and resilient, facing unexpected challenges with a smile and by rolling up their sleeves.
10. The City Next Door to Nature
Reykjavik, the capital city, is uniquely connected to nature. A salmon river runs through the city. Whale-watching boats sail from the harbor in the heart of Reykjavik. Adventure rides on glaciers are two hours away, and a few hour tour can include exploration of amazing geysers, waterfalls, black beaches, and hot spring bathing. Rightfully called the land of ice and fire, the breathtaking landscape is still being formed by the powerful forces of nature.
For those who enjoy adventure, history, nature, and culinary delights – even all in a day or two – Iceland has been described as the meetings- and incentive planner´s paradise. Expansive open spaces, towering mountains, deep gorges, and magnificent glaciers are open for exploration and enjoyment.
Reykjavik has a small-scale urban center that attendees find easy to navigate. The hassle-free city center is safe, clean, and packed with restaurants, shopping, culture, and vibrant nightlife. Iceland’s high level of education, technological expertise, flourishing start-up culture, and magical nature make the destination a perfect backdrop for international meetings and first-class events. It only takes around 40 minutes to reach the city center from the airport.
About FIRST CLASS Travel – Your DMC in Iceland
First Class Travel is a privately owned company. The company is managed by a team of highly-educated professionals with years of experience in the industry. First Class Travel offers extensive assistance to clients needing any kind of service related to meetings, incentives, and special events. We take pride in exceeding the expectations of our clients in every way.
We specialize in incentive travel. Our clients since 2006 have come from all over the world – Europe, USA, Africa, South America, Canada, and Asia. Amongst them are well known international companies and associations. We value our relationships with our trusted clients.
So, whenever you feel comfortable to travel with your group again we are ready to assist you.
Selection of FIRST CLASS Travel Clients
“Each year I manage an incentive travel experience for 40+ members of our sales team, and I’ve worked with DMCs all over the world. Bragi and his guides are absolutely excellent. If you are bringing a group to Iceland, First Class Travel should be your first call.”Luann, 50pax, USA
“Great professional, best experience for an incentive and a private organised tour.”Birgit, 100pax, Gerrmany