Attendants to the conference were over 30 participants from many of the activities that are running similar issues in Iceland.

A photo album from the meeting

On the 26th of October was a meeting in South-East Iceland about changes and the future of tourism and development of experiences in the region. I have kind of a difficulty in turning the exact terminology over to English, but at the same time the meeting was quite open. Many gave presentations and opinions about how to deal with the future, both rather pessimistic and optimisic. The theme was named ‘What is sustainability?” and the issues touched upon were many. Some were: What are we talking about? How have things developed in Iceland? How can we learn from foreign experiences and what is the strategy of government? And what is the strategy of small entrepreneurs?

There were presentations of measurement methods by members of the University of Iceland and we did a presentation of the first phase of our project in Höfn last month (See here). There were presentations by grass root activitists and some very bad presentations by members of the academia. Of course I am not meaning all of them, but there are differences in measurements and disseminations that some people do in no way manage to make while their work might be important. Absolutely great to learn more about local activity: Erlendur Pálsson from Sólheimar about organic development, Laufey Helgadóttir from Smyrlabjörg telling about tourist development in their farm and Fanney Björg from the Home Market Shop in Höfn.

A map of Iceland showing the farms that are active in opening up their production locally or into food consumption directly from production.

We learned about the Slow Food activism in Iceland, Sustainability in tourism in Iceland and about the food development that takes place in the fish industry in the local town Höfn. The main company is Skinney Þinganes. Here is a film from that event that we are cutting further for more dissemination and futher development. Furthermore I was impressed by the research done by Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir from the Iceland University who introduced the Converge Project.

The main products from the food producers in the Höfn region

This meeting of people working in the same direction was very informative and supportive for the next steps in the development of sustainability and tourism. Both for the region and also for us that are looking at these issues nationally and even internationally. Lots of information that one gained from meeting people that think in the same directions and also quite informative to meet in a place of Icelandic tourism that represents unfortunately the typical services that have been made for tourists that visit Iceland. One has to live in the hope that this will improve when knowledge and design will be allowed to participate in the development.

October 27, 2011   Posted in: DESIGN, ICELAND, SUSTAINABILITY