How Iceland Increased Tourism Through Social Media
The eruption of Eyjafjallajökull brought Iceland into international consciousness in 2010. The ash spewed 8 miles into the sky, and more than 800 Icelanders evacuated its perimeter. The media flooded the papers with news of earthquakes, air pollution, and lightning storms, and as a result, air traffic over Iceland nearly came to a halt. The country’s tourism organization, Promote Iceland, decided that something had to be done in order to save their beloved Iceland.
They didn’t want to gauge their campaign around the typical propaganda, rather they wanted to send a message that would have an emotional effect on people. With the help of London-based global branding agency, the Brooklyn Brothers, Promote Iceland started the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign as a means for real travelers to share their positive experiences of Iceland.
According to Google, 92% of tourists use online tools when deciding on their next destination. This means that most of the content filling the minds of these prospective packers are social media, web chats, or an article/blog published online.
When Promote Iceland launched their campaign, the responses were broadcast on TV and live-streamed via the internet. Participants shared their stories through Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc. Within one week, over 1.5 million stories were posted in relation to the Inspired by Iceland campaign.
Before the campaign, most of the hits that turned up on Google were negative stories of natural disasters, but 10 weeks after Iceland dropped their campaign, and 22 million stories of positive had been shared, little was to be seen of volcanoes for a new Googler.
Just fewer than 673,000 foreign tourists visited Iceland in 2012, and the number continues to increase. In 2015, Iceland launched another web-based campaign called “Ask Guðmundur”. Seven citizens, not celebrities, were picked from each region of Iceland and they responded to social media questions. They received responses from all around the world, resulting in more interest from foreign travelers.
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