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Icelanders to tourists: Come to our homes this winter

Nelson Alcantara, eTN editor-in-chief  Nov 09, 2011

At 4:00 pm today, November 9, Iceland's president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, will invite tourists into his own home for traditional Icelandic pancakes with whipped cream and rhubarb jam, Visit Island has announced.

According to the tourist bureau, this unprecedented and historic move is President Grimsson's personal contribution to a nationwide campaign, "Accept Iceland's Invitation," where local residents welcome visitors with open arms into their homes to enjoy unique experiences only Iceland can offer.

Visit Island added that on October 10th in a video on, President Grimsson announced the campaign. “Subsequently, hundreds of Icelanders have extended invitations to the world via video on where interested travelers can view inspiring activities on offer. For instance, join Siggi in northern Iceland on a sampling tour of his microbrewery or Asta in Reykjavik to learn how to knit traditional Icelandic sweaters or visitors can meet Ragnar who is a professional photographer ready to teach how to properly capture the Northern Lights.”

Participating in the campaign, Visit Iceland added, are several other high profile Icelanders including the Mayor of Reykjavik who is inviting guests to dine on sushi made from fresh Icelandic seafood. Rocker Mugison is offering a hotel room jam session.

"It's no surprise that Icelanders are so receptive to this idea because we are very open people who welcome North Americans and enjoy sharing information about our country," says Sif Gustavsson, Area Manager of North America for Visit Iceland.

"We're the closest European neighbor to North America and most Icelanders speak English which they enjoy practicing on visitors."

The 2011 Inspired by Iceland campaign, which is being promoted by the President, is part of an effort by tourism officials to boost off-season travel.

"The geothermal spas are steaming hot, the nightlife is cool and the Northern Lights are shimmering," says Gustavsson. "This is the perfect time to enjoy Iceland's raw natural beauty and charming culture. Inspired by Iceland's new local experience is only available in winter so we're urging travelers to book now."

Icelanders to tourists: Come to our homes this winter
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