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20October 2010 Conference+Meetings World www.c-mw.netDESTINATION REPORTthat can be as wild as the nature includeskidooing, white-water rafting, horse riding,hiking, glacier tours and whale-watching.Add to that cave exploration, golf under themidnight sun or touring the highlands inSuper Jeeps. The IC&IB says there is noshortage of local suppliers and incentivesspecialists to provide logistics and supporton the ground. The power of nature aside, there is a longIcelandic saga of culture, of course, andnow an increasingly lively nightlife and clubscene. Reykjavík has become a bit of aFestival City, and is especially lively on Fridayand Saturday nights.Reykjavik has 2,500 hotel rooms, rangingfrom four-star deluxe suites to B&Bs.The city's restaurants offer a differentculinary adventure, with seafood drawnfresh from the Atlantic, lamb that hasroamed wild and fed on moss and herbs,and locally-grown vegetables as coreingredients. Until the opening of the Harpa centre nextyear, Iceland is more a destination forincentives than for large internationalconventions. It markets itself geographicallyas a mid-Atlantic meeting point "betweenEurope and North America". There aredirect flight connections from USA andEurope (three hours from Europe and fivefrom the east coast of the USA). Harpa to strike a conference chordA new venue chapter is set to begin with theopening of the Harpa National Concert andConference Centre in Reykjavik in May2011. The eagerly awaited opening followsthe Hof Cultural House opening last year inthe northern city of Akureyri. Together thevenue investments signify a big step forwardfor Iceland's ability to attract internationalmeetings. Hitherto known rather as an incentivesdestination, with these two new conferencecentres, along with more hoteldevelopments in Reykjavik, Iceland'smeetings future looks bright. Reykjavik boasts:. 30 museums. 25 galleries. 30 hotels. 30 hostels. Iceland is an island of 103,000square kilometres.. Half of Iceland's 320,000 populationlives in ReykjavikThe Harpa Concert and ConferenceCentre project, which is set todeliver 28,000sqm of event space,including a main auditorium to seat1,800 delegates, is a partnership betweenAusturhofn-TR and Portus.Austurhöfn-TR is owned 54 per cent bythe State and 46 per cent by the City ofReykjavík and was established to co-ordinate efforts of the project and itsprincipal promoter.Portus is the operator of the IcelandicNational Concert and Conference Centre,while the State and City of Reykjavík arecontracted to make a fixed annualcontribution over a 35-year period.Situated in the old harbour betweenReykjavík city centre and the NorthAtlantic, the new Harpa Concert Hall andConference Centre already stands out asa unique landmark, and officially opens 4May 2011. The design was influenced by Iceland'snature. Situated on the boundarybetween land and sea, the building isdesigned to reflect both sky and harbourand is covered by glass.The design artist is Olafur Eliasson, whoworked in collaboration with HenningLarsen Architects in Copenhagen,Denmark and Batteríið Architects inIceland. "It is with great anticipation that wehave seen the building and itsmagnificent façade emerge on theskyline," said Pétur J. Eiríksson, Chairmanof Portus . "Now that it is nearingcompletion, we can feel the energy it willbring to the city and how it will strengthenReykjavík as one of the most attractivecapitals in Europe."Throughout the design process,emphasis was placed on making a centreideal for hosting large events, as well assegregating conference areas so thatevents can be hosted simultaneouslywithout disruption. Harpa's name comes both from thename of the stringed instrument and theancient Icelandic name of a month in theold Nordic calendar, which marks thebeginning of summer. As well as the main concert hall, thereis a spacious entrance hall located onboth the first and second levels. This isspace that can be used for exhibitions,large banquets, and receptions. Additionally, there are two meeting hallson the first level as well as various smallermeeting rooms. Additional amenitiesinclude boutiques, a viewing balcony, abar and restaurant with direct viewsacross the harbour, a ground-floor bistro,catering, and underground parkingoptions. The centre's artistic director, VladimirAshkenazy, will conduct the IcelandicNational Symphony Orchestra at theofficial opening.Harpa: music for the meeting organiser's earsHaskolabio cinema hall provides a big stage

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