Posted by: neilh10 | May 3, 2012

20,000 hits (21,003 to be precise)

I just noticed that the blog has now had over 20,000 hits. yes!

At the same time, my attitude towards the blog has perhaps changed. When I started out, back in November 2010, I started from a point of absolutely nothing. Zero. I had bought an apartment in the north west of Iceland, I’d spent a lot of money doing it up, and needed an income. The blog was actually only a small part of many initiatives to try and rent the place out, including a brief (and unsuccessful, fortunately) attempt to market the apartment on ebay. 

I was very enthusiastic and told everyone, everywhere, that they should go to Iceland because it is an amazing place. I managed to persuade a few people. I tried to use the blog to challenge peoples misconceptions about Iceland (that the weather is terrible, that it is prohibitively expensive) etc.  But actually, a couple of years along the line, I’ve realised this is a useless, pointless strategy. If people want to go to Iceland then they will go there of their own volition, they don’t need to be persuaded. There are enough tourists in Iceland already and the numbers are increasing every year. This is not a bad thing – but it is debatable as to whether the place is really ready for large amounts of tourists. 

For a while I believed that the economic future of places like Flateyri lay in the development of tourism. But, on reflection, I think that tourism will only ever play a very minor role in the towns economy. As of now it only really contributes to a handful of jobs at the most, and these are concentrated in a three month period over the summer. The newly resurgent fishing industry provides most of the jobs, these are mostly minimum wage manual labour jobs, but it keeps the community going, and the school, swimming pool, bank and post office open. On my last visit, people were expressing optimism that more jobs would bring more people to the village, and that there would be more parties going on this summer. 

The fact that getting to Flateyri involves a 14 kilometre detour from the only road of any significance is, I think, a good thing. It means that many people just don’t make the turn. For now, at least, Flateyri is somewhere where you can go to get away from the tourists. Meanwhile, the tourist industry is expanding rapidly in places like Reykjavik and Akureryi, which is also good – after all, Iceland needs this income.  

And as for the apartment, people seem to find it the website, and I have been able to rent it out enough without needing to publicise it any more than I am. I am looking at what I am doing much more professionally than when I started – the feedback that I have had so far is overwhelmingly positive, but I am always looking for ways to improve. And thinking a bit more about how to attract the type of guest who will truly appreciate the village and surrounding area.

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