Iceland saw more than 23,000 Chinese visitors in the first 11 months of this year, increasing by 49 percent compared with the same period last year.
Pleased to see the increasing number of Chinese visitors, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson expressed his warm welcome, saying “we are extremely pleased to see the growth in tourism and particularly in this large number of Chinese tourists which we welcome very much.”
In an interview with Xinhua, the prime minister said, “The reason we are so pleased to see Chinese in particular visiting Iceland is that we would like to encourage as much cooperation with China as possible.”
“China is in many ways the country of the future. A growing country in many ways,” he said. “It has shown interest in Iceland and we certainly are interested in China. Anything that increases the cooperation between these countries is good in our opinion.”
Meanwhile, expressing her highly welcome to the increase in tourists from China, Iceland’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir told Xinhua that Chinese tourists are valuable to Iceland and she would like very much to see an increase of Chinese tourists even furthermore.
“We have made preparations to increase our marketing efforts in various cities in China in order to facilitate more tourists coming from China,” she said.
Referring to Iceland’s efforts in improving infrastructure to cope with an increase in numbers of tourists from China, she said, “we are preparing for that. We are targeting and seeing what efforts we need to do here privately with different companies, with the hotels, with the tour operators, and hopefully we will be even more prepared to welcome Chinese tourists than ever before.”
In order to have Chinese tourists well informed about services in Iceland, Icelandic Times magazine has newly launched its Chinese version.
Icelandic Times project manager Edda Snorradottir told Xinhua that the growing number of Chinese travellers coming to Iceland calls for Icelanders to better adapt their service offerings so Icelanders can greet their guests the best way they can. Icelandic Times has designated its Chinese version to provide the information which they expect helpful to make the stay of Chinese guests as the best as possible, Edda said.
“We have also published our magazine online for those who are thinking about coming to Iceland, maybe planning their vacation or are simply curious about the country,” she said.