Hey, Leif Ericsson, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
I read today in the Huffington Post that Iceland is asking travelers to give their exotic, well-regarded island a new name. Yeah, as marketing gimmicks go, calling your country Iceland isn't exactly a great concept. It'd be like Edmonton saying welcome to Murderville, Alberta or Tonawanda being called "Fire City." Oh, wait ...
I don't know if it's true, but I read as a kid once that Ericsson, the great sailor/discovered, intentionally called Greenland that name because it was, in fact, almost all ice. Iceland, on the other hand, had things going for it so he slapped the ice word on it to discourage other folks from checking it out. It's pretty clever but I suspect it didn't do a lot in the long run except damage Iceland's modern-day tourism numbers.
The Huff Post quotes Inga Hiln Palsdottir, director of marketing and Visit Iceland at Promote Iceland, as saying her group is embracing the talk of a name change and that "some of the naming suggestions will appear on marketing materials and online properties."
Yahoo.com reports that "a naming booth has been installed at Keflavik airport where visitors are actively encouraged to share what Iceland is to them: name and all. A brand new naming page is now visible on the http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com website and the most popular contributions can be viewed along with the latest videos and images from the campaign. The conversation will also be available on The Inspired by Iceland Facebook and Twitter pages."
One guy, Floria Thomasson of Germany, apparently has suggested Landofendlessskyland. Someone on Twitter sent in AwesomelandUnicornMichaelJackson. As much as I like the funkiness of the latter suggestion, I somehow doubt it'll fly. It should sound European, I'd think, so people associate it more with Europe. PlungingEuroland, maybe? WeallneedabailoutbyGermanyland?
HAPPY WORLD TOURISM DAY
It's World Tourism Day, apparently, although I didn't get the memo.
I did, however, get a note about how Ipsos Reid recently did a study on behalf of World Vision and found that 77 per cent of vacationing Canadians are disturbed to see children working in the tourism industry. It also found that half of Canadians (a bit disappointing) would be willing to spend an average of 27 per cent more on their holidays if travel companies guaranteed they didn't use child labour.
"We wear maple leafs on our backpacks and lapels, but it's time we started recognizing how we may be unintentionally fueling the problem of child exploitation," said Caroline Riseboro, vice president of marketing and communications for World Vision Canada.
Food for thought.
PALM TREES AND PYRAMIDS
The latest RBC Travel Rewards Poll says Disney World, Machu Picchu and the Great Pyramids of Egypt remain high on our vacation wish list.
Asked to name their 2012 top city, 13 per cent named Honolulu, Hawaii. Yeah, it's got Waikiki Beach and hula girls and fab sunsets and surfing and all that, but it also has excellent food (Hawaiian chefs do great Asian-influenced seafood and all sorts of other great stuff), perfect weather and lots to do for city folks, including fine museums and great shopping. The wonders of Oahu are close by, too. Next on the list was Paris at 12 per cent, followed by Rome at 11, London at nine, New York at six and Las Vegas at six. New York was up from four per cent in the previous year's poll, by the way, so they're doing something right. All those added flights from WestJet and Air Canada and Porter likely are helping fuel the Big Apple boom as well, I'd think.
The top-ranked tourist destination (as opposed to city) was the Great Pyramids of Egypt at 18 per cent, followed by Machu Picchu in Peru (11), Disney World (10), the Canadian Rockies (nine) and the Great Wall of China (nine).
The poll found that the top activities likely to be part of the next vacation include sightseeing (64 per cent), staying in a hotel (51 per cent), shopping (49 per cent) and relaxing on a beach (45 per cent).
WALK NEW ZEALAND
Air New Zealand is looking for four great walkers to complete all nine of New Zealand's "spectacular and sometimes gruelling great walks," which span 550 km of terrain that includes alpine peaks, glacial valleys, native bush, golden beaches and rainforests.
Entries for the Great Walker can be found at www.greatwalkernz.com until Oct. 22. Winners will travel to New Zealand in Feburary 2013 to complete the "epic Kiwi adventure of a lifetime."