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50 / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / ISSUE 67Nordic: IcelandIceland: the Mid-Atlantic meeting pointSituated between North America and Europe, Iceland provides a halfway meeting point In March 2010, Iceland's infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano attracted global attention when it caused major disruption to air travel across Europe. The country felt the heat in terms of visitor arrivals but has seen a gradual return, with Iceland attracting 400,000 visitors in 2011, 20 per cent of them MICE visitors. In ICCA's 2010 country rankings Iceland ranked 56th worldwide and 29th in Europe, with 27 qualifying meetings held. Of those meetings Iceland's capital Reykjavik hosted 24. Reykjavik is expected to increase its ranking in the years to come with its Harpa Concert and Conference Centre delivering a host of events since opening in May 2011. In April 2012 the city sees the opening of a new hotel, Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, with 108 rooms and meeting facilities for up to 50 delegates.Iceland's two cities, Reykjavik and Akureyri, offer 40 three-star and above hotels with 3,000 bedrooms. Destination management company Atlantik's Director of Incentives, Kristin Sif Siguroardottir tells CMW that although the country's facilities are on the smaller side and thereby limit the events the city can accommodate Iceland has "solid infrastructure and an ease of transport". She says there are numerous direct flights from cities on both sides of the Atlantic. She adds there are possible bottlenecks in flights when many delegates come in from one destination. "Iceland is more suitable for up to 1,200-delegate conferences, where we have Harpa as the main venue," says Iceland Convention and Incentive Bureau MD Solveig Lilja Einarsdottir. "Iceland is a land of endless action where the playground of the highlands is within minutes from the city, offering delegates snowmobiles on glaciers, river-rafting or relaxing in thermal pools. " Meet in ReykjavikIn January Reykjavík, the Icelandair Group and Harpa founded 'Meet in Reykjavík' concept to market the city as an international conference destination. Within three years they hope to increase annual delegate arrivals by 20 per cent, increase conventions' economic impact by one billion ISK (US$7.9m) and increase international conferences in the city to at least 30 per year.With a population of only 300,000, Iceland is a compact meetings destination ready to accommodate smaller international events. "Incentives are far from being simply an indulgence but provide a reward for goals attained and are an opportunity to build teamwork, loyalty and enthusiasm into a workforce," says Iceland Convention and Incentive Bureau MD Solveig Lilja Einarsdottir. "Whatever the season, few places can match Iceland when it comes to uniqueness and diversity of activities, hence the country's popularity among incentive planners. Where else could you play golf in the midnight sun?"CMW sets out a handful of top incentive ideas: Whale-watching tours- Elding Reykjavik Whale Watching tour leaves from the Old Harbour all year round and other 'adventures at sea' are also on offer, such as puffi n watching, sea angling and a ferry to Vioey Island. It also runs a yacht charter Glacier tours - Situated in south eastern Iceland, at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier branching from the Vatnajökull, between Skaftafell National Park and Höfn, a lagoon evolved after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic The Blue Lagoon - Iceland is known for its natural hot springs and spa culture, which is widely celebrated across the country. One of the nation's favourite pastimes is chilling out in the various hot pots Northern lights tours - The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) provide one of the most spectacular shows on earth and can be seen in Iceland from September through April Nordurfl ug helicopter tours - Delegates can take in the view of Reykjavik and its surrounding area from the mountain Esja in fi ve minutes or within 30 minutes to stand on Langjokull with a drink with icecubes from a glacier. The company co-operates with other tour companies so an organiser can combine a fl ight with jeeps or ATV experiences or a stop in the Blue Lagoon. Incentive ideasAbove and below: Harpa-Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference CentreA land of endless action with the highlands within minutes from the cityICELAND CIB MD, SOLVEIG LILJA EINARSDOTTIR