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Overview website for Iceland

www.cbd.int/countries/?country=is

Overview. Iceland is situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, isolated from landmasses, making it difficult for plants and animals to disperse to the …

www.letsgo.com

Taking Iceland off the travel agenda? Hold up one second. Despite the poor choice of name by its founder (really, Hafnar? Iceland?) this tiny island vestige of …

www.nationsencyclopedia.com

Iceland – Overview of economy. Iceland’s economy is similar to that of its Scandinavian neighbors. It is mainly capitalistic, but the republic. has an extensive …

www.eubusiness.com

Iceland is the westernmost European country, holding a strategic location between Greenland and Europe. The country is a potential candidate …

www.minorityrights.org

Iceland is a volcanic island located in the North Atlantic between Greenland, Norway, Great Britain and Ireland. Iceland is Europe’s most sparsely populated …

Taking Iceland off the travel agenda? Hold up one second. Despite the poor choice of name by its founder (really, Hafnar? Iceland?) this tiny island vestige of Viking culture is piping hot. With a landscape dominated by lava fields, you won’t merely look on at the sleeping, fire spewing giants we know as volcanoes: with hundreds of natural hot springs, you’ll get to feel the heat too—minus the skin-smoldering, bone-melting nature of actual lava. Iceland also offers an excellent respite from all those bustling, mainland European countries in need of a massive tourist-ectomy. In the most sparsely populated country in Europe, and one of the least touristy, the air will taste sweeter as you tour the mythically scarred landscape, as will the rich cuisine that allows adventurous carnivores to finally get a taste of raw or cooked whale (without those pesky legal restraints). Still hesitant? Consider a few more things: Icelanders are 25% percent happier than the rest of the globe; possession and consumption of alcohol by “minors” is legal; and for all those would-be imperialists scouring travel guides for a new North-Atlantic invasion, Iceland is the only NATO country without a standing army. We will warn you, however, that when duty calls, Vikings are pretty good with a battle-axe. Pease refer to the pillage- and plunder-fest of the Dark Ages for further information.

Iceland’s economy is similar to that of its Scandinavian neighbors. It is mainly capitalistic, but the republic

has an extensive welfare system, low to no unemployment due to labor shortages, and a wide distribution of wealth. Poverty is practically non-existent. Overall, Iceland’s economy is strong and Icelanders enjoy a standard of living similar to many European countries.

Iceland’s use of its natural resources has been central to its economic success. The country has achieved a high standard of living and many years of economic stability from the profits of its fish and energy resources. Given Iceland’s dependence on fishing and fisheries, the economy is profoundly affected by declines in the number of fish living in its seas and in the Atlantic Ocean. The economy is also sensitive to drops in world prices for its main exports of fish and fish products, aluminum, ferrosilicon, equipment and electronic machinery for fishing and fish processing, and woolen goods.

Foreign trade also plays an important role in Iceland’s economy. Exports and imports account for two-thirds of the GDP. Most of Iceland’s exports go to the European Union (EU) and ETFA (European Free Trade Association) countries, the United States, and Japan.

Stability is a key aspect of the Icelandic economy, and the performance levels of the economy are not expected to change anytime soon. The policies adopted by Prime Minister Olafur Ragnar Grimsson’s center-right government effectively reduced the budget and government deficits, restricted foreign borrowing, controlled rising inflation , and revised agricultural and fishing policies while diversifying the economy and selling state-owned industries. The economy should continue to prosper in the future.

However, one factor that remains the subject of great debate is whether Iceland should join the European Union (EU). The main reservation against EU membership is the fear of losing direct control of Iceland’s fishing resources. History plays an important role in this debate, as Iceland was under Danish control for 5 centuries and only became an independent republic in 1944. Therefore it is understandable that freedom and control over their country’s own natural resources is an important issue to Icelanders, and does not make EU membership very alluring.

The Icelandic economy has several strong, growing sectors outside of its economic mainstay of fishing. Since the 1990s, the economy has been branching out into the manufacturing and service industries. The financial services, biotechnology, and computer software industries are especially strong and growing. Tourism is another important industry that is increasing. The number of international visitors has risen greatly in 2000, as people are intrigued by the natural wonders of Iceland. Whale watching, visiting hot springs, and horseback riding are popular tourist activities.

Since 2000 one of the government’s top priorities has been to manage and control Iceland’s booming economy. To ensure stability, the government has adopted conservative fiscal policies and reduced its public debt. Privatization is another policy adopted by the government to better manage Iceland’s economy. In the early 1990s, the government launched its privatization policy by selling off many state-owned industries to private buyers. In 2001, Iceland’s privatization program continued with the sale of state banks and a state telecommunications company. Monetary policy will continue to focus on price stability and increases are expected in interest rates in order to contain accelerating inflation.

Weird moonscapes, unearthly lakes, remote glaciers, snowy wastes, sulphuric springs, geothermal spas and the Gates of Hell – if this sounds like your perfect vacation destination, Iceland is the place to go! Set inches below the Arctic Circle, yet with a surprisingly mild climate, this huge, highly volcanic rock lies right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the North American and Eurasian plates. Iceland offers adventurous visitors a combination of spectacular, contrasting experiences including active volcanoes, fascinatingly different national parks, and a unique, unspoiled environment.

Things to do and see here mostly involve the Icelandic fantasy-land of frozen waterfalls, massive geysers, water-cut lava fields, geothermic lakes, glaciers, and the world’s most dramatic natural phenomenon, the Aurora Borealis. The great, pulsating swathes of emerald green and red trails flicker across the night sky in all their glory, a sight guaranteed to render visitors speechless with wonder. In the daytime, hiking on the tundra or glaciers, ice climbing, whale watching, heli-skiing, ski touring, and ski-mountaineering are all favorites.

Most visitors base themselves in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, a beautiful city with friendly, helpful people and the major tourist destination on the island. Eating out here is comparatively expensive but, given the freshness of the food served, is good value for money. Fish is the favorite ingredient, and the restaurants lining the harbor in the colorful older part of the city offer the best choice of seafood dishes. Most hotels are located in or around the city center, close to vibrant nightlife venues and various attractions.

Iceland is the world’s 18th largest island, with the majority of its attractions and all its cities and towns set around its coastline. The wild, strange vistas of the interior are mostly inaccessible during the long winter months, but there’s still plenty to see and do if you’re planning a winter visit. Given the climate, roads here are well-kept, connecting urban areas via spectacular views of rocky cliffs, bays, and promontories, and giving plenty of opportunities for daytrips.

Domestic flights are to Iceland what buses and trains are to most other countries, and a great way to see the magnificent vistas of volcanoes, glaciers, ice and snow fields, and the vast expanses of deserted lava fields. For Iceland’s uninhabited, magnificent interior, tours or self–drive are the answer, although tours around the interior are only offered during the short Icelandic summer. Long distance bus travel between major cities is possible, but is often more expensive than flying.

Highlights

Reykjavik old town for its brightly-colored little homes, pretty parks, and museums

Whale watching trips from Reykjavik around Faxafloi Bay

The Blue Lagoon with its spa and azure-blue, warm thermal waters

Gullfoss, the breathtaking Golden Falls

Myvatn Lake, surrounded by volcanic craters and deserted tundra

The Dimmuborgir black lava pillars and caves known as the Gates of Hell

The Glacier Lagoon with its massive floating icebergs

Thingvellir National Park for its astounding scenery

Reykjavik’s riotous nightlife scene – best experienced after midnight

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