Eyjafjallajokull, Lonely Planet, USA TODAY: Iceland in the spotlight

Iceland became a household name overnight on 14th April 2010 when the Eyjafjallajokull Iceland volcano erupted, causing flight disruptions worldwide. Ever since, the country has been under the media’s spotlight. However, this scrutiny was followed by a much-deserved increase in positive attention from numerous publications, including Lonely Planet, USA TODAY and CNN as a top travel destination and idyllic place to visit.

Within days of the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption, cancellations in all of Iceland’s tourism sectors fell by 22 percent. This could have been disastrous for the country’s tourism industry, which plays an important role in the national economy. However, to counteract Iceland’s negative media portrayal, the ‘Inspired by Iceland’ tourism campaign was introduced by a combination of government bodies, Icelandic advertising agencies and tourism officials.

The ‘Inspired by Iceland’ tourism campaign, launched in June 2010, set out to boost the image of Iceland and help encourage people to visit the country again. Inspired by Iceland’s main focus is to allow individuals to share their stories and memories of Iceland, and to showcase the island’s many unique and appealing attributes, such as thrilling activities, cultural events and beautiful scenery.

The successful campaign increased positive exposure and helped Iceland gain a run of incredible travel recommendations from numerous publications. Most recently, the U.S. national publication, USA TODAY voted Iceland as a top travel destination for 2011. The ‘land of fire and Ice’ was amongst other favourable destinations selected to visit next year, including New York City, Japan and New Zealand.

This is not the only time Iceland has publicly been voted as a top travel destination. Lonely Planet, the largest travel guidebook and digital media publisher in the world, voted Iceland as one of its ‘Perfect Trips for 2010.’ The popular travel publisher also listed Iceland’s Westfjords as one of its ‘Top 10 regions to travel for 2011’.

Lonely Planet’s newly released ‘Best in Travel 2011’ guide, describes the Westfjords as “an outdoor adventurer’s dream destination” and explains how the unique landscape ranges from “soaring mountains” to “unfathomably deep and silent fjords” clustered with tiny fishing villages.

Furthermore, Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik has also been voted as the top Christmas holiday 2010 destination, according to CNN’s travel website, CNNGO. Reykjavik was ranked number one, beating off strong competition from some of the world’s most incredible destinations. Amongst those listed are Nuremberg, Germany; Pogost, Belarus; Salzburg, Austria and Sydney, Australia.

2011 is set to be a great year for tourism in Iceland. To find out more about visiting Iceland, things to do, and the ‘Inspired by Iceland’ campaign, visit www.inspiredbyiceland.com