Iceland's tourism board has unveiled ‘Iceland Academy’ (25 February), an online tool with classes run by locals and experts in a range of fields to help visitors understand the best of Icelandic culture and etiquette and how to stay safe on their travels.
A part of the 'Inspired by Iceland' campaign, the academy aims to help tourists be more informed so they can make the most of what Iceland has to offer, whilst raising awareness about how to travel in a safe and responsible way.
The online academy, now open via the Inspired By Iceland website, will see a series of video tutorials released, run by ‘tutors’ from the Icelandic Search and Rescue service, the National Culinary Team and adventure sports specialists. The videos will offer insider knowledge on a variety of aspects of Icelandic culture; from explaining hot tub etiquette and local food sustainability, to glacier safety and explaining why tourists should never mess with the local’s treasured Icelandic moss.
Viewers are invited to attend each class and encouraged to complete each term, after which they will receive an Iceland Academy badge. Once they have collected all available badges, viewers will have the chance to win a ‘field trip’ to Iceland to test out their new skills. Just like a real school, the ‘Iceland Academy’ timetable will run on a seasonal basis with new classes launched each term.
It follows on from last years Ask Guðmundur campaign, which introduced the world's first human search engine to educate tourists about the diversity of Iceland in all seasons and the variety of activities and experiences across the country.
Iceland Academy’s classes are open to everyone via the Inspired By Iceland website and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, director at Tourism and Creative Industries at Promote Iceland said: “With Iceland’s appeal as a winter destination increasing and with interest from Europe and North America up by 59 per cent since 2012, we have a responsibility to not only inspire but educate those considering a trip to Iceland, as well as encouraging sustainable travel amongst our visitors.
"The majority of tourists want to experience nature, and we know that Icelandic nature must be treated with respect and care. We believe that if the traveller is better informed of conditions ahead of time, he or she will get more out of the trip and leave the country happier”.