Following on from last week’s blogs about tour operators and Icelandic whaling (see here and here ) I have had some fruitful and positive interactions with several tour operators who take visitors to Iceland. I have to say that these have been entirely polite, apparently open and wholly constructive.
As a result I have drafted this letter in the hope that tour operators will sign up to it and that it can be sent to the Icelandic Prime Minister, the Ambassador for Iceland in the UK, and relevant Icelandic Ministers.
FOR THE ATTENTION OF MS KATRIN JAKOBSDOTTIR PRIME MINISTER OF ICELAND
Dear Ms Jakobsdottir,
We are all UK-based tour operators who bring parties of wildlife enthusiasts to your beautiful country.
We have been visiting Iceland for many years and hope to do so for many years to come. We travel from north to south staying in hotels and guest houses, spending our tourist money, we hire vehicles, visit many geological sites, and take boat trips with whale-watching companies. We believe that our economic input into your country is valuable to the Icelandic economy as a whole and especially to some of the more remote parts of your country.
We are aware of course that commercial whaling takes place in Iceland, but to date have supported the view that contributing to your economy helps to oppose what many Icelanders and visitors consider to be a cruel and barbaric practice. However the recent killing of a hybrid Blue/Fin Whale in Icelandic waters has caused international outrage. It has certainly led to an increase in questions to us from some of our customers, and potential customers, about why we continue to operate wildlife tours to a country which allows these magnificent creatures to be hunted.
We understand that your Government is to review the practice of commercial whaling later this year, and we call upon you not to renew the licence for commercial whaling. Our ability to support Iceland, its international reputation and our contribution to the Icelandic economy now depend upon your policy towards commercial whaling.
[List of UK wildlife tour operators.]
This has been sent to the following firms: Greentours, Travelling Naturalist, Heatherlea, Orcadian Wildlife, Sunbird, Birdquest, Discover the World, Naturetrek and Sarus Bird Holidays. I am hopeful that several companies will sign up and I’ll give you an update this evening on whether any have or not.
And later this week I’ll post a letter suitable for individuals to send.