University of Iceland – Höfn

The Hornafjordur Regional Research Centre (HRRC) was established in 2002 and has since that time forged close contacts with the tourism sector in Southeast Iceland. The HRRC is a founding member of Ríki Vatnajökuls ehf (Realm of Vatnajokull), the tourism, food and culture cluster of Southeast Iceland, and has worked with the cluster on many previous occasions. It has also worked with tourism clusters and enterprises in neighbouring municipalities, in particular Skaftárhreppur. A large part of the HRRC´s research and R&D activities over the last decade has been devoted to tourism projects, both academic and applied. It was e.g. the trans-national lead partner in NEST and the Icelandic lead partner in NEED and has also received several grants from both national (e.g. Food and Sustainable Tourism, funded by the Icelandic Research Council) and regional sources for tourism projects. In recent years, the HRRC´s main emphasis has been on the development of sustainable tourism and winter tourism in South/Southeast Iceland.

 

The Hornafjordur area is in many ways ideal as a case study for the SAINT project. Because of its spectacular and varied nature (including many outlet glaciers) there is already a long history of adventure tourism of many sorts in the area. In total, there are about 15 companies working in this field, the largest of which employ more than 100 people on an annual basis. Recent years have seen the emergence of a number of small family-run businesses in this sector, the oldest of which are now growing quite quickly. Efforts are also currently being undertaken by the Municipality of Hornafjordur, Vatnajokull National Park (another longterm collaborator of the HRRC) and the tourism cluster to develop a network on new walking and hiking paths for tourists and, in general, to promote the Hornafjordur area as one of the prime outdoor recreational and adventure tourism destinations in Iceland. Training programmes for mountaineering have been developed at the East Skaftafell County Upper Secondary School.