Leading the pack in sustainable tour development, Iceland Cool innovates Iceland’s first Game of Thrones and movie-inspired itineraries in cooperation with Iceland Travel. Initially created for the MICE sector, the Incentive Programs were launched in a press release and introduced to US Meeting Planners at the IMEX America Trade Show in Las Vegas. The itineraries guide attendees to locations from hit Hollywood movies and TV series that are filmed in Iceland and provide sustainable travel opportunities by showcasing some of the island’s lesser known regions. Subsequently the Incentive Programs were adapted for the consumer market and today represent a wildly popular and successful travel trend in Iceland.
ICELAND THE NEW HOLLYWOOD HOTSPOT
Iceland Travel Introduces Incentive Programs Inspired By Hit Hollywood Movies and TV Shows
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND (September 25, 2012) – Iceland is increasingly becoming a desirable location for Hollywood filmmakers, in no doubt due to the uncommonly beautiful landscape that is like no place else on Earth and where Mother Nature is the star of the show. In anticipation of four new major motion picture releases, Iceland Travel launches movie inspired incentive itineraries where travelers can experience the same adventures as the actors in the film.
“We’re very excited,” says Jakobina Gudmundsottir, Iceland Travel’s Sales & Marketing Manager for North America. “Here, within short distances, you can find miles of black sand beaches, ice caves, green valleys, exploding geysers, waterfalls and wild horses. With these new movies being filmed outside of the capital area we have the opportunity to showcase some of the lesser known but unbelievably stunning regions of Iceland and the amazing adventures to be had there.”
MOVIES FILMING IN ICELAND
OBLIVION – The upcoming sci-fi thriller “Oblivion” stars Tom Cruise who plays a veteran soldier sent to a distant planet to destroy the remains of an alien race. The Lake Myvatn area in northern Iceland serves as the atmospheric setting of an alien planet which is not surprising considering it is where the Apollo 11 Crew came in the late 1960s to train for their impending moonwalks. Bubbling mud flats, 10,000 year old volcanic craters, newborn lava fields, and grassy banks alive with rare birdlife are among the sights of the striking Myvatn environment. “With Icelandair’s new direct flights to Akureyri from Keflavik, we can offer travelers more options to visit this incredible region with countless adventures from soaking in the Myvatn Nature Baths to enjoying the country’s best whale watching and arctic skiing,” says Jakobina Gudmundsdottir, Sales & Marketing Manager – North America.
GAME OF THRONES – HBO’s hit fantasy miniseries “Game of Thrones” has made the most of Iceland’s arctic landscapes filming wintry scenes in the breathtaking Svinafellsjokull glacial area which is a wonderland of frozen sculptures, deep crevasses, and ice walls of various shapes and heights. In this amazing location, Iceland Travel offers ice climbing and glacier hikes (suitable for all experience levels) as empowering adventure activities ideal for an incentive itinerary.
NOAH – The religious epic “Noah” starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson filmed on location by the moonlike surroundings of Lake Kleifarvatn and the Raufarholshellir lava tube cave which formed from an eruption 4,600 years ago. The fascinating, volcanic backdrop of this geothermal area is teeming with sulphur springs, bubbling mud pools and steeped in folklore with legends of a worm-shaped monster the size of a whale occupying the lake. “We like our nature with a side of culture,” says Gudmundsdottir. “Often Viking mythology is incorporated into nature activities like stopping for a traditional rune reading while exploring underworld caves.” Filming also took place in the seaside village of Thorlakshofn where incentive travelers can enjoy a magnificent 18-hole golf course that lies along the shore of black sand beaches surrounded by vibrant grasslands and mountain vistas.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY – US director Ben Stiller recently spent several weeks filming “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in many locations throughout Iceland including the secluded seaside villages along the Eastern fjords. “Iceland is full of surprises with so many places left to be discovered,” says Gudmundsdottir. “The village of Seydisfjordur in the East where Ben Stiller has been filming all summer is one of the cutest towns you will ever see in your life and is definitely off the beaten path. From dramatic fjords and herds of wild reindeer, to mystical ice caves and elf folklore, this charming corner of the country is an ideal setting for a truly unique incentive program. ”
INSPIRED CELEBRITY ACTIVITIES
What do actors do on location when they have time off from filming? In Iceland, they get inspired! “Iceland has a naturally energetic environment,” affirms Jakobina Gudmundsdottir, Sales & Marketing Manager – North America. “We have more artists and writers per capita than anywhere else in the world and there must be a reason for that. Maybe it’s the fresh air and lack of pollution, or the Viking spirit that gets into your blood when you arrive, but visitors do feel it and often find themselves trying activities normally out of their comfort zone.” Gudmundsdottir goes on to consider, “If these film actors get inspired while they’re here in Iceland, imagine what it could do for an incentive group?”
British actress Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, spent her time off from filming “Noah” reveling in Iceland’s renowned music scene and declaring her love for Iocal bands like “Of Monsters and Men” via Twitter. Clearly feeling the groove, Watson teamed up with celebrated musician Olafur Arnalds in the studio for a full day recording session. “Accessing our music scene is not just for celebrities,” explains Gudmundsdottir. “We’ve had incentive groups book some of Iceland’s biggest music acts for their gala evening and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg either. This is an affordable luxury add-on that most places can’t offer.”
Ben Stiller took the plunge so to speak while scuba diving in Silfra, an amazingly crystal clear lake made from the melting water of a glacier 30 miles away. Located in Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO), this freshwater fissure between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates is where divers literally swim between continents. This world class incentive activity is available all year round.
Easily the most active of all the Hollywood A-Listers visiting Iceland this year, Russell Crowe enjoyed his time off by soaking in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, cycling around the capital area, hiking mountains and channeling his inner rock-star. Crowe bid the country farewell with three live concerts during Reykjavik Culture Night including an impromptu duet with American punk rock legend Patti Smith where they performed one of Smith’s best-known numbers, Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night.” Afterwards Crowe tweeted, “Iceland you have been wonderful, thanks for everything, hope to see you again sometime.”
#ICELAND IS TRENDING WITH CELEBRITIES ON TWITTER
Hollywood actors filming in the country shower Iceland with love and humorous observations on Twitter.
* Blue Lagoon…so cool, volcanic ash scrub, algae mask, white mud all over the body. I’m soft as a babies bum all over, comfortable in my skin. – Russell Crowe @RussellCrowe.
* Scuba diving at Silfra. Clearest water in the world. I can’t feel my lips. – Ben Stiller @RedHourBen.
* Icelandic clubs are like mosh pits! I’m going back with an Icelandic dance ARMY! Haha. – Emma Watson @EmWatson.
* I seem to have left Iceland with an addiction to Skyr…can you buy it anywhere else in the world? – Russell Crowe @RussellCrowe.
* Iceland on a bad day. Not so bad. – Ben Stiller @RedHourBen.
* My thoughts on Iceland; it is a very special place, spiritual, demanding, conscientious, riotous, pleasant and breathtaking #Icelandrocks – Russell Crowe @RussellCrowe.
ABOUT ICELAND TRAVEL
Iceland Travel is the leading travel agency, tour operator and destination management company (DMC) in Iceland, assisting over 40,000 visitors to the country each year. Outstanding service and a team of 60+ dedicated employees sets the company apart and warrants the slogan – Refreshingly Different.
Iceland Travel is a subsidiary of Icelandair group, which owns and operates profitable and dynamic travel and transport companies delivering safe, reliable and convenient services. Iceland Travel works only with licensed suppliers, thus ensuring the delivery of quality services.
The team at Iceland Travel Incentives takes pride in creating programs as unique and unforgettable as the country of Iceland itself. For more information please visit www.icelandtravel.is.
Iceland Cool USA
Note to Editors
For images and additional information please contact Sif Gustavsson at Iceland Cool USA firstname.lastname@example.org; (917) 484-1814.