On 26 March 2009, Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Industry, Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, Director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, and Jón Ásbergsson, CEO of the Trade Council of Iceland, signed a cooperation agreement between the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Icelandic Tourist Board (ITB) and the Trade Council of Iceland, pledging signicifantly increased cooperation in promoting Iceland and Icelandic products and services abroad. The agreement follows a legislative proposal recently introduced to Althingi, the Parliament of Iceland, on the establishment of Promote Iceland and aims at immediately starting preparing for the cooperation mandated in the proposal.
Promote Iceland will be established on the basis of the Trade Council of Iceland, but with a broader mandate. First, the marketing department of the Icelandic Tourist Board will be run within the framework of Promote Iceland thus securing close cooperation between the Tourist Board, the Trade Council and the Embassies as regards projects and efforts to attract foreign visitors to Iceland. Second, Promote Iceland will be tasked to formulate and implement a comprehensive policy on rebuilding the image and reputation of Iceland abroad, in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders from the private and cultural sector. Thirdly, Promote Iceland is intended to strengthen foreign market knowledge among tourism companies.
In the cooperation agreement, the parties agree that the parties will coordinate their efforts as much as possible.The roles and responsibilities of the ITB offices abroad will be for the most part transferred to the respective Embassies of Iceland. A special task force has been established to discuss and decide on this and other future cooperation.
On the same occasion, agreements between the ITB and seven regional tourism offices were introduced. In accordance with these agreements, the regional offices will take on increased responsibilities regarding the promotion of domestic tourism, thus making better use of financial resources and achieving better results through concentrated and cooperative efforts.
In recent years, the Government, municipalities, tourism organizations and domestic companies have developed regional cooperation on marketing and information efforts aimed at building up the Icelandic tourism sector. The Minister for Industry initiated the above-mentioned agreements in order to further consolidate and formalize this cooperation. The Icelandic Government has decided to fund this cooperation especially, based on the premise that further funding needs will be addressed by municipalities and companies.