Transport Airlines

Icelandair CEO on acting like the tourist board for the country

Excerpt from Airlines International

Nov 04, 2012 8:50 am

Skift Take

This is a delicate balancing act: the Icelandair CEO, while working with the govt. to promote tourism, is also lobbying against its imposed aviation taxes.

— Rafat Ali

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Rafat Ali

Rafat Ali


“We’re very different from other airlines. We almost act like a Tourist Board and we see that as a definite advantage. Our marketing focus is very much on Iceland as a destination as well as on Iceland as a hub for transatlantic flights.

This isn’t contradictory. Remember, we have only 320,000 people in Iceland. Around 80% of our passengers are based outside of the country. Our view is that the more people use Iceland as a hub, the more they are likely to visit the country.

The eruption also brought world attention to Iceland and to the spectacular nature of the country. We immediately spotted the opportunity to use this as a positive and started a very successful marketing campaign with the government and other players in the tourism industry here. Since the eruption, we’ve had two years of sizeable increases in the number of tourists coming to Iceland.”

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