Iceland touts its energy in latest efforts

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: An organization backed by the Icelandic Tourist Board and a group of overseas Icelandic businesses recently launched a media campaign promoting Iceland's renewable energy sector to US businesses.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND: An organization backed by the Icelandic Tourist Board and a group of overseas Icelandic businesses recently launched a media campaign promoting Iceland's renewable energy sector to US businesses.

Seeking to capitalize on media attention devoted to global warming and the interest in the US in alternative forms of energy, the trade group Iceland Naturally retained MWW to organize an October visit to LA by Iceland president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. His visit was intended to promote Iceland's expertise in exploiting geo-thermal and other renewable sources of energy.

This month, MWW also organized a media trip to Reykjavik by trade and business journalists to showcase energy technology in Iceland and the use of geothermal resources for heating buildings, among other things. The ultimate aim is to attract US investment in the country's energy sector, explains Einer Gustavsson, the executive director in North America of the Icelandic Tourist Board.

"There's a lot of momentum for all kinds of energy, including geo-thermal, and not many people are aware that America is the biggest producer of all countries of geo-thermal energy," Gustavsson said. "[Icelandic businesses have] been doing this for 50 to 60 years, and they think they have a story to tell about their experience. [As] a renewable resource, no one knows how long it will last, but definitely at least 500 years for Iceland."

Media members participating in the tour included journalists for publications such as Fast Company, Wired, Energy Intelligence, and Fortune. MWW EVP and GM Matt Rose said the effort aims to encourage not only investment in Icelandic companies but the use of Iceland as an energy-cheap location for manufacturing.

Gustavs said Blumenfeld and Associates handles tourism-related and other kind of "day-to-day" PR for Iceland Naturally, whose members include the Icelandic ministry of foreign affairs and Icelandair.

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