Sturla Böððvarsson flutti síðastliðinn mánudag ávarp í London þegar hleypt var af stokkunum kynningarátakinu Iceland Naturally. Kom þar meðal annars fram að þar sem árangur af slíku átaki í Bandaríkjunum hefði reynst góður hefði verið ákveðið að hefja svipað átak í Þýskalandi, Bretlandi og Frakklandi. Ræða samgönguráðherra á ensku fer hér á eftir:

The promotional campaign Iceland Naturally has been underway in the United States for almost seven years. The purpose of the campaign was threefold: to promote Iceland as an interesting travel destination, to present Icelandic products — particularly our water and our fish, meat, and dairy products — and to introduce Icelandic culture and services.

This campaign allows a wide variety of parties — tourism authorities, companies in the tourist services sector, and manufacturers and vendors of Icelandic goods — to join forces to achieve a common objective. After years of work and investment on the part of the tourism authorities and our partners, it is clear that we are making progress.

We conducted an opinion poll at the time the Iceland Naturally project was launched in the United States, and then we repeated the survey five years later. According to these surveys, interest in Icelandic products and in Iceland as a travel destination has increased. The number of respondents who were interested in travelling to Iceland has increased.

The opinion polls also showed that the proportion of people who think of ice and snow and cold when they think of Iceland has dropped and the number of people who consider our country interesting because of culture or natural surroundings has risen.

This shows that we have indeed made headway, both through our Iceland Naturally programme and through the conventional promotion carried out in North America by the Icelandic Tourist Board and Icelandair.

In light of the experience we have gained west of the Atlantic we decided to embark on the same sort of campaign in Europe. We also believe that collaboration among the parties to Iceland Naturally is a much more potent means of marketing and will have much broader appeal. This means that we aren’t focusing only on Iceland’s nature, with all of its undeniable appeal; we are also focusing on manufacturing and services, not to mention our rich and plentiful cultural offerings.

Icelandair, The Blue Lagoon, Iceland Spring Water and Leifur Eiríksson International Airport were at once ready to participate and I wish to thank them for the interest and power they have shown.

We still emphasise the great importance of extending our collaboration to other partners in addition to our current ones.

Every year tens of thousands of British people come to Iceland. Last year some 58 thousand people from the UK visited us, and by July of this year British tourists totalled over 33 thousand, which is an increase of almost 4% over the figures from July of 2005. British and Icelandic people have a great deal of contact and business interactions, and over the years we have developed excellent means of transportation between our two countries.

People of today travel almost exclusively by air. These easy transportation options lay the foundation for visits between us, and they form the basis for our becoming acquainted with each other’s culture and society. These interactions are invaluable to us and must be maintained. We can do this by continuing to be curious — for a widely travelled person becomes a well-informed person.

It is my hope that this collaboration among the Ministry of Transport, Tourism, and Telecommunications, the diplomatic service, the Icelandic Tourist Board, and our partner companies will be the key to enhanced commerce between Iceland and the United Kingdom. It is with this in mind that we welcome you to our presentation this evening