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Promote Iceland - Female Innovator of the Year


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Company: Promote Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Entry Submitted By: Interconnect ehf | The Change Makers
Company Description: Promote Iceland is a public-private partnership established to improve the competitiveness of Icelandic companies in foreign markets and to stimulate economic growth through increased export. The goals of Promote Iceland are promoting Iceland as a tourism destination, assisting in the promotion of Icelandic culture abroad, and introducing Iceland as an attractive investment option.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Innovator of the Year – Government or Non-Profit –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: The Woman Behind Iceland Tourist Boom

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated woman since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir has been an integral part of branding for Iceland for over a decade and is leading a team of experts on Iceland tourism and destination marketing.

In 2010, the tourism industry thought it would be recovering from the financial crisis when a volcanic eruption hit. The government and the private sector with over 100 companies joined forces and created a marketing initiative under the brand of Inspired by Iceland. At the same time Promote Iceland was established, a public-private partnership for international marketing of tourism, trade, foreign direct investments and culture. Ms. Pálsdóttir being a leader in the tourism industry and has lead Inspired by Iceland from day one, in close cooperation with all stakeholders.

Through the leadership of Ms. Pálsdóttir, the tourism industry in Iceland is now, the largest foreign revenue generating industry in the country. Larger than both fishing and aluminum exports in 2016, which for decades, have been the largest industries to support the Icelandic economy.

In October 2016, Inspired by Iceland won the Euro Effie Grand Prix including four gold awards, becoming the first to win Grand Prix twice (first in 2011). In November 2016, Promote Iceland was awarded the Marketing Company of the Year in Iceland for the marketing of the destination by the Association of Marketers, along with the 2016 Campaign of the Year. In June 2017, her team won two silver awards at the North American Effie Awards, with Inspired by Iceland becoming the first Icelandic brand to ever win an Effie in North America.

In 2016-2017, the Inspired by Iceland team created the Iceland Academy campaign, which is an online education tool aimed at ensuring a pleasant and meaningful experience for travelers, while raising awareness of safe and responsible travel. The campaign alone, delivered 1.3 billion impressions through outreach, 1.179 articles published, 2.2 billion ISK value created through outreach (budget 250 million ISK) and 8.5 million views on the launch film. 850 companies took part in sharing the campaign. Among consumers, there was a 342% increase in the search word “Iceland” and 30% increase in consideration to travel.

The strategy is clear for Iceland as a destination. The objectives are to decrease the seasonality, increase spending and keep visitor satisfaction high. The number of visitors in 2016 were 1.7 million were the highest increase was from September to May. The increase in these months was and has been 32%, compared to 20% for the whole year annually for the last 3-4 years, decreasing the seasonality every year. The expected number of visitors in 2017 is 2.2 million. The seasonality has decreased by 20% in the last three years, and now over 62% of travelers come off season. With 2017 starting well with 46% increase from January – May and 17% in June - August. In 2016, payment card turnover was ISK 232 billion, 50.2% higher than in 2015, when it was ISK 154 billion from visitors. Visitors in 2016 were 96% satisfied with their trip and 90% want to come back.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated woman (up to 125 words):

Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir has been an integral part of branding and promotion for Iceland for over a decade, most recently serving as Director of Visit Iceland and Creative industries at Promote Iceland. Promote Iceland is a public-private partnership promoting Iceland internationally for trade, tourism, foreign direct investment, and culture. Visit Iceland is the destination marketing office for Iceland and works under the brand of Inspired by Iceland.

She serves on the board of NATA – North Atlantic Tourism Association and is a part of the reference group to the Nordic Council of Ministers on Nordic branding. She’s given numerous presentations internationally on the topic and writes regular articles both in Iceland and abroad. She has MSc. in International Marketing and BSc. in Business Administration.