Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fair or unfair...?

I travel rather often between Iceland and the rest of Europe due to educational activities I carry out and have recently noticed an interesting change I would like to share with you here.

Once you arrive in Iceland by plane to Keflavik, there are a few options how to get to Reykjavík and then carry on exploring the rest of Iceland:
1, You can rent a car and have it ready waiting for you at the parking lot of the airport.
2, You can have somebody, who you know, pick you up and drive you.
3, You can take a taxi.
4, You can take a bus called Fly bus, which is one and only official bus connection between the airport and the capital.

I often take the bus and the change I´ve recently noticed is the following:
When I got on the bus and we set off, a nice voice in speakers welcomed us and gave us instructions on safety on board.
Some minutes later, some other nice voice was telling me that Reykjavík Excursions are offering many interesting tours, including a tour to Blue Lagoon and that I could find more detailed information in the booklet of my seat.

This made me think. I was sitting on the bus that is supposed to serve wide public and that operates on a very lucrative route between one of the most used entry points to Iceland and Reykjavík.

The company is private and honestly speaking I´m not really sure how long they´ve been operating this route and how they managed to get the monopoly for it. However, I know for sure that a few years ago, there would be brochures of Icelandic Excursions waiting for me in the seat pocket and now it´s also an announcement through speakers reminding me what is it that they have on offer.

Being in shoes of a private company I totally understand that Reykjavík Excursions are using all possible marketing tools to advertise their services.
Being in shoes of a person living in Iceland, however, I doubt the fairness here. If you think of number of tourists that possibly take the FlyBus to get from Keflavík to Reykjavík, how come that they only get to hear very limited offer connected to one and only company operating this unique bus route?
Most of those taking this bus are tourists who have come to explore Iceland and we all know that Iceland is much much more than a number of tours that Iceland Excursions have had on offer.

Are we ever going to hear something different in speakers in the future?

Is there a possibility that marketing offices of other parts of Iceland would pay a small amount to Reykjavík Excursions so that other parts of Iceland could be advertised too?

Can we imagine that advertising other parts of Iceland would happen on the FlyBus without any extra fee being paid to Reykjavík Excursions? It´s still a dream for now, but if this became a reality then I guess we´d be seeing that tourism in Iceland is maturing and doesn´t wear its infancy nappies as it is unfortunately still the case.

Reykjavík Excursions claim on their webpage:
We´ll take you there. All the most exciting places in Iceland.

Well, it´s really possible to see many exciting places via Reykjavík Excursions, but I also know they are not necessarily the most exciting places of Iceland. There´s just as much excitement off the beaten track, where Iceland Excursions don´t offer tours, and I encourage you all to explore them too.

P.S.: It will be interesting to find out how did Reykjavík Excursions manage to obtain such a unique permission for operating this lucrative route between Keflavík and Reykjavík.

By then, let´s keep on exploring Iceland and all its beauty, having the eyes open for all kinds of tours, not only thouse shouting at us from good-looking brochures and leaflets.


  1. I kinda think you've hit the nail on the head with asking how they got the monopoly in the first place. Whether they advertise their other tours via a leaflet or through speakers I think is secondary to the fact that they're simply the main company most tourists come into contact with when they arrive in Iceland. Of course people are going to look at their products over other companies', there's no alternative to choose until you get to where you're going.

    They're entitled to advertise as much as or how they want as far as I'm concerned, avoiding verbal ads on their buses isn't going to make up for the fact that tourists and locals are exclusively exposed to their services at the earliest possible opportunity

  2. Three things strike me about this article:-
    1. The bus terminus in Reykjavik is Hotel Loftleider, which belongs to Icelandair. Those in the know realise that there is more to Reykjavik Hotels than the Loftleider.
    2. The Icelandic Tourist Bureau in the capital is far more helpful than anticipated and they give you the choice of travel and excursions.
    3. One private tour company does not reflect what Iceland offers.
    Graeme, BUSBY, Scotland.

  3. A friend ofmine is currently living in Reykjavikfor quite a while now. As we established advertisements about sscheduled tours can be seen everywhere(Reykjavik Grapevine,local papers, brochures in lots of storesand cafes). She went to the Blue Lagoon tour offered by previously mentioned company. She said she was checking upon the prices and this one seemed to be the only one.
    I knew there is also Grey Line operating and the scheduled tour to the Blue Lagoon costs much less and yet, she missed that somehow and overpaid.