"We have so many unique landscapes," exclaims Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, the Icelandic Minister of Industry and Commerce. "We have everything from volcanoes to glaciers, to spectacular fjords and hot springs."
WST is speaking to Ragnheiður following a familiarisation visit in September; a tour which saw the team research attractions and destinations for future geography and science and technology groups. The team returned to the United Kingdom with a number of potential sites for future groups; areas of spectacular natural beauty and educational significance.
"Iceland is a very good destination for school students," states Ragnheiður. "It has unique scenery and nature that has attracted increasingly more and more tourists to our country."
During their time in Iceland, the team visited a number of outstanding areas of natural beauty including Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss Waterfall and Eldfell volcano. "We have so many unique destinations," says Ragnheiður. "The landscape is changing every day; we even have fresh volcanic eruptions every now and then."
WST tour groups can enjoy a guided coach excursion of the 'Golden Circle' and 'The Blue Lagoon', although Ragnheiður recommends the South Shore for its variety of natural wonders. "It's a very unique area," she remarks. "You have beautiful mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, including the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier."
Indeed, Ragnheiður reveals that eighty per cent of tourists visit the country for its natural beauty. However, she is quick to point out that many of Iceland's natural attractions are within reach of urban areas, including the capital Reykjavik.
With over 90 per cent of tourists visiting Reykavik during a visit to Iceland in 2004, the capital is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Ragnheiður states that the city offers a multitude of options for those visiting on a school trip, providing a unique historical experience. Indeed, the final tour day of school trips involves a guided exploration of the city.
"Reykjavik is small enough to be accessible for school groups, but big enough to be exciting," she comments. "There are a number of museums, a range of beautiful buildings and a number of sites of historical interest."
According to Ragnheiður, the majority of visitors leave Iceland having had their expectations surpassed. "People come with high expectations, but they leave amazed," she says. "There is a sense of uniqueness about Iceland that people just don't experience in other countries."
"People are never disappointed."
You can find more information relating to WST's school trips to Iceland here.