Catalans head to Iceland this summer

Many Catalans will travel to Iceland this summer. Four months after the eruption of the Eyjafjöll volcano, the country has become the Catalan ?destination of curiosity"

Emma Vila / CNA

August 4, 2010 10:53 PM

After the eruption of the Eyjafjöll volcano, Iceland has become one of the most appealing destinations for Catalans. Last April, the “volcano effect” paralysed European air traffic, leaving many Catalans keen to visit the country. “Catalans who ask for information will probably end up travelling to Iceland,” says the president of the Catalan Association of Travel Agencies (ACAV), Francesc Carnerero. According to Carnerero, this is because, even though there was “a problem”, there were no casualties. As a result, Iceland is the top destination for Catalan travellers who seem keen to experience volcanic and economic uncertainty all at once. 

Carnerero also said that there is still a tendency to shorten the length of trips, as there was last year. However, Catalans don’t give up their holidays. In fact, according to the President of the ACAV, the greatest increase in holiday bookings is for cruises, which have a fixed price, offer much more entertainment opportunities and are targeted at young clients keen to make the most of their holidays.

There’s always a bright side. In cases such as Iceland’s, natural phenomena can be transformed into tourist attractions. People can also put the past behind them, which is why, one year after the first cases of swine flu that came from Mexico, Mexico is regaining ground on the tourist indexes.

But it doesn’t always work this way. There’s Thailand, for instance. As a consequence of the confrontations between the government and the “Red Shirts,” less people will visit the country, even though it is currently one of the best times to go there.                        

According to the ACAV, long-distance trips only represent 20% of tourist destinations chosen by Catalans. Moreover, this summer 2% of these will opt for “proximity tourism” in Spain, the Mediterranean and Europe.
In any case, the ACAV anticipates that there will be a moderate increase in the number of bookings this summer. They calculate that bookings will increase by 3%, thanks to last-minute reservations, which are typical of the month of July, even when it comes to booking long and complex trips. Nevertheless, the travel industry is still suffering from the 22% drop in agency bookings that was registered in the last year.