The Icelandic Tourist Board is an independent authority under the Ministry of Industries and Innovation . Its activities are regulated through the Tourism Administration Act , with the overall authority in the hands of the Minister of Industry.
Granting licenses and legislation
The registration and issuance of operation licenses are amongst the tasks of the Icelandic Tourist Board. In this rapidly growing industry, professionalism is an integral reqirement of operations and the requirements stipulated by law are a part of improving the quality of Icelandic tourism and securing consumer protection within the tourism industry.
A license must be applied for in order to operate a travel agency or tour operation. A registration certificate is required for the running of booking services and information centres. All those who obtain licenses from the Icelandic Tourist Board are required to display the graphical logo from the Icelandic Tourist Board on their websites and in any advertising.
The Icelandic Tourist board plays an active role in developing the regulatory framework for tourism in Iceland through participation in legislation and various interactions with legislators and other governmental agencies.
The Tourist Board supports national promotional activities of a various kind and is in close co-operation with regional marketing agencies in this respect. Also the board provides information on various aspects of the Icelandic travel industry to tourists, researchers and travel agents, through printed and electronic publications.
Quality issues - VAKINN
A harmonised quality and environmental system for the Icelandic tourism industry has been developed, based on the Qualmark system from New Zealand, and was introduced in 2011. The system has received the name VAKINN.
The main goal of the system is to enhance and promote the quality of tourism in Iceland and to promote the social responsibility of tourism companies in Iceland. The quality system can be divided into two categories: star ratings for accommodation and the auditing of other services that are connected to tourism. The audit is based on two criteria: general criteria for all services and specialised criteria for each subcategory, of which there will be approximately thirty.
Research and statistics
Tourism research and data gathering are vital for its development, and the Icelandic Tourist Board is involved in a variety of ways, for example by conducting surveys among domestic and foreign tourists, disseminating reports on business and industry issues and participating in research projects within the various fields of tourism.
The Icelandic Tourist Board is responsible for the tallying of tourists who pass through the airport terminal at Keflavík International airport and registering their nationalities. Results are an important tool for marketing, evaluation of success and the shaping of public policy for industry.
Innovation and development
This aspect is gaining more importance at the Icelandic Tourist Board. It includes, amongst other things, the development of new infrastructure and tourism areas, consultancy, professional support and employment development.
Projects in this field include cultural tourism, food tourism and health tourism services. The tourist board co-operatives actively with other institutions concern with innovation and product development, e.g. Innovation Centre Iceland.
Environmental issues are a major factor in the development of tourism, due to the sensitive nature of Icelands environment and the fact that a large majority of visitors to the island site its unique nature as the determining factor for the visit. The Icelandic Tourism Board puts great emphasis on the environment in a variety of ways. These include the allocation of funding for the conservation, improvement and development of environmental issues at tourism sites; consultation, participation in planning and landscape development, as well as individual environmental projects.
The steady increase of tourism has been the driving force behind infrastructure and site development. Since 1995, the Icelandic tourism industry has spent about 700 million ISK on grants and projects in over 300 locations around Iceland. The creation in 2011 of the Tourist Site Protection Fund has led to substantial funding increases for improvements in popular tourist attractions and national parks. has an independent governing board, and is hosted at and serviced by the Icelandic service board.
The Icelandic Tourist Board works in close co-operation with municipalities, government agencies, individuals, organisations and companies. However, all projects have the goal of improving access around the country and increasing the tolerance limits of tourism areas.
Distribution of information
The Icelandic Tourist Board operates the largest database concerning tourism in Iceland. The organisation maintains and regularly publishes on its website diverse information on the development of the industry, for example the number of tourist arrivals to Iceland and the number of overnight stays. In addition, the Icelandic Tourist Board publishes brochures, manuals and information pamphlets on e.g. statistics, signposts and the layout of campsites.
The Icelandic Tourist Boards website, ferdamalastofa.is, contains a wealth of information regarding the organisation and is, at the same time, an information provider on tourism in Iceland, its scope and development.
Co-operation with others is an integral part of the Tourist Boards activities. Among those in close cooperation are e.g.:
- Innovation Centre Iceland
- Promote Iceland
- The Icelandic Travel Industry Association
- The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre
- The Environment Agency of Iceland
- Marketing Agencies around the country
- Regional developmental agencies