Feel at home in Iceland

Oct 11, 2011, 17:34 IST | AFP

The president of Iceland has issued an unusual call for his countrymen to invite tourists into their homes.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson kicked off a new tourism drive October 10 by appealing to Icelandic citizens to open the doors of their houses to show visitors the 'hidden beauty of Iceland'.

As his personal contribution, President Grimsson will be "inviting tourists into his own home for pancakes, whipped cream and rhubarb jam," said a statement.

In his videotaped message, the president said along with the pancakes, his wife would be treating tourists to vegetables grown in their greenhouses, before the party took a scenic walk to see the birdlife and 'majestic view.'

The new campaign builds on last year's social media program, which encouraged Icelanders to personally invite friends and colleagues living abroad to visit the country and brought an extra 156m in tourism revenues.

This year's campaign takes the personal touch one step further, with other high-profile figures such as the mayor of Reykjav �k and minister for tourism also expected to get involved.

Initial offers from Icelanders available on the website include "a walk through B �ldudalur and a Monster soup after" and "a traditional Icelandic ice cream car ride."

Iceland shot to global fame (or notoriety) following the 2010 eruption of volcano Eyjaffjollajokull, which paralyzed air transport across much of Europe for weeks -- local officials credit last year's campaign with turning around the country's tourism fortunes.


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