...and its Reflection in Newspapers

Eka Lainio:"Once Upon A Time.."


Translation of the editorial article in the biggest Icelandic national daily 
(conservative) newspaper Morgunblaðið, Reykjavik, 13 July 1996, p 22.
Translated by Dr. Ole Lindquist, Reykjavik, Iceland.

In recent years whale watching has become an ever more important part of the tourist business world wide, including here. Since Glacier Tours at Höfn in Hornarfjörður some years ago began sailing tourists out on sightseeing to watch whales, first of companies, many other tourist businesses have joined in. Today whale watching tours are conducted from Grindavík, Reykjavík, Arnarstapi, Árskógsströnd, Dalvík, Akureyri, Husavík and Djúpavík, just to mention some places. From various of these places were previously carried out whaling.

There are examples of fishermen using their boats for whale watching during the summer, but there are also companies with special boats for this purpose. There has been a great increase in this activity and as an example it can be mentioned that 1500 people bought whale watching trips from Husavik last year. This year the figure will be much higher.

Whales are majestic creatures and many people consider it a great adventure to see them in the context of other marvels of the Icelandic nature. In recent years the whales have been used to attract foreign tourists to the country and the magnificent photo of a jumping humpback whale will be recalled which was distributed all over the world for promotion purposes. Foreign experts think that the conditions for whale watching are particularly favourable here in this country. Morgunblaðið has reported about a group of British tourists who came to Iceland exclusively for the purpose of watching whales.

It is considered that in 1994 about 4.6 million people went whale watching the world over. It is estimated that companies which offer whale watching trips in that year had a turnover of about USD 300 million or about 20 billion Icelandic kronur. Done prudently, Icelandic tourist businesses should be able to secure a considerable share of the market which obviously exists for trips of this kind.

It may possibly not take long before the income from whale watching may exceed that income which possibly could be generated by whaling, if it were resumed, at least if the risk which accompanies whaling for Icelandic export markets is taken into account.'

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Rauno Lauhakangas