Having a whale of a time in Iceland

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Welcome to a cool, make that icy, Iceland. The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Reykjavik Bureau is open for business.

I’m here in the Icelandic capital for the annual ACI Europe Airport Commercial & Retail Conference & Exhibition. I’ll be moderating a session today on digital disruption, a subject that’s been close to my heart since our own digital disruption of the travel retail media sector 17 years ago.

Passengers arriving at Keflavik Airport are immediately made aware of the extensive arrivals duty free offer.
And of the country’s spectacular attractions.
Welcome to the vibrancy of the Icelandic arts scene.
Keeping communication simple. And highly effective.
Discovering the spirit of Iceland.

Iceland is an amazing country, a spectacular treasure chest of nature’s wonders. Alas, this visit will be confined largely to my hotel (the modest but excellent Centerhotel Arnarhvoll), just across the road from the ACI event’s magnificent venue, Harpa.

In a land blessed with so many of nature’s gifts, Harpa is a great manmade landmark. Sitting right by the picturesque Reykjavík harbour, it offers sublime views of the surrounding mountains and the North Atlantic Ocean. As my picture shows, the building features a wonderful glass façade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland. The internal architecture is equally splendid.

Last night the Welcome Reception, hosted by airport authority Isavia, took place at Whales of Iceland, a remarkable exhibition and event space featuring life-sized models, an interactive installation and virtual reality experience. And yes, you have forced me to say it, we did have a whale of a time.

After the weekend’s rugby result, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned whales to an Irishman. With Dufry Global Head of Business Development Denis Hourigan.
With Gunnhildur Erla Vilbergsdóttir, Commercial Manager, Isavia, who will be a star turn on the panel I am moderating today.

It’s nice to be here, even in the bleakness of the transition between winter and spring (I walked a mile or so to my hotel last night after getting dropped off at the wrong place and resembled a walking iceberg by the time I arrived). My body clock still tells me I am in Korea. But I’m not. And on Thursday I will be in Orlando, which should be some 25 degrees or so warmer than here. I cannot pretend that I’m not relishing the prospect.

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