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WDCS: Tour operators from across Europe increase pressure on Iceland

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  • mendicot
    http://tinyurl.com/pagt 24/09/2003 12:24:24 PM Tour operators from across Europe increase pressure on Iceland to stop whaling More than 40 European tour
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1 2:58 AM
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      24/09/2003 12:24:24 PM

      Tour operators from across Europe increase pressure on Iceland to
      stop whaling

      More than 40 European tour operators, including companies from
      Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and the UK, are
      calling on Iceland to stop whaling. The number of tour operators
      supporting the protest, initiated by WDCS, Pro Wildlife and ASMS, has
      doubled since the first harpoon was fired.

      At least 27 whales have been slaughtered by Icelandic whalers since
      August 14th this year, when Iceland's whaling programme resumed,
      following a gap of over 14 years. Iceland has faced strong and
      continued international criticism from governments, organisations and
      individuals, since the resumption of its whaling programme. The 40
      tour operators have joined 23 governments from around the world, in
      calling on Iceland to halt its whaling activities immediately.

      Tourism provides essential income to the island, ranking second
      amongst Iceland's industries in economic importance. However
      Iceland's well established image, as a prime wildlife tourism
      destination, has been damaged enormously in the last few weeks. "Many
      people feel strongly that whale watching is not compatible with
      whaling and it is likely that they would reconsider visiting Iceland
      if whaling was once more to be conducted in Icelandic waters", state
      the 40 tour operators.

      The pro-whaling lobby in Iceland attempted to placate whale-watching
      organisations, stating that it would not hunt whales in whale
      watching areas, however reports have confirmed that hunts have been
      carried out in whale watch hot spots. This represents a clear breach
      of trust, not just with whale watchers, but also with the whales
      themselves, which have built up a rapport with whale watchers over
      the years and now approach boats without fear.

      WDCS, PRO Wildlife and ASMS welcome the clear position from the
      European tourism industry. "We do not understand how the Icelandic
      government can follow the advice of a small misguided pro-whaling
      lobby, not just to add a further threat to the survival of whale
      species, but to jeopardize one of the most successful industries in
      Iceland itself."

      Every third person travelling to Iceland participates in whale
      watching tours and prior to the resumption of whaling, this figure
      was increasing. Minke whales, now hunted by Icelandic whalers, are
      one of the key species enjoyed by whale watchers in Icelandic waters.


      If you would like to help WDCS in our campaign, please protest to the
      Icelandic Government immediately. The relevant contact details and a
      template letter for you to use can be found below. If you can email
      now, please do, and express your feelings over this appalling
      decision. Please also copy your letters and any responses that you
      receive to us at info@....

      Please send your letter to the Prime Minister of Iceland: David
      Oddsson postur@...

      Please copy your letter to:
      Árni M. Mathiesen, Minister of Fisheries arni.m.mathiesen@...
      Halldor Asgrimsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs

      Please also copy your letter to the Icelandic Embassy in your country.
      If you live in the UK the contact details are as follows, Icelandic
      Ambassador to the UK: Mr. Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson,
      Email address: sverrir.h.gunnlaugsson@...
      Embassy of Iceland
      2A Hans Street
      London SW1X 0JE,
      Great Britain
      Tel: +44 [0] (20) 7259-3999
      Fax: +44 [0] (20) 7245-9649
      E-mail: icemb.london@...
      Web: http://www.iceland.org/uk

      Please use this link to get information on other Icelandic Embassy's
      where you live:


      Dear Prime Minister

      I am appalled to learn that Iceland has decided to resume commercial
      whaling under the guise of scientific research, and plans to kill 38
      minke whales this summer. I am deeply disappointed that Iceland has
      taken this decision in spite of the declaration of the International
      Whaling Commission (IWC) at its recent 55th meeting, that
      commercially motivated research whaling represents "an act contrary
      to the spirit of the moratorium on commercial whaling and to the will
      of the Commission". At this meeting, the IWC specifically urged
      Iceland not to start so-called "research" whaling.

      As you will recall, during the IWC's debate about Iceland's proposal
      to resume Scientific Whaling, thirty nine national delegates of the
      IWC's Scientific Committee's from many nations concluded that, not
      only was Iceland's research proposal poorly contrived and unlikely to
      yield relevant results, but that it was "deficient in almost every

      I find it hard to believe that, despite this degree of criticism,
      Iceland intends to proceed with its hunt. The fact that Iceland has
      reduced the number of species, and whales, to be hunted, for the
      moment makes the proposal no more credible, or acceptable. In fact,
      it simply suggests that Iceland fears an adverse reaction from the
      international community and wishes to test the waters on a more
      moderate scale.

      I can assure you that the world community will react very decisively
      to Iceland's decision, no matter how many whales are taken.

      In addition to the impact that Iceland's decision will have on its
      international reputation and economy, I believe that it will also,
      sadly, have severe repercussions for its valuable whale watching
      industry. Iceland has had one of the highest growth rates for whale
      watching in the world, with thousands of tourists contributing
      millions of dollars to the Icelandic economy. Adverse consumer
      reaction to whaling will be devastating for Iceland's tourism-reliant

      I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to resume scientific

      Yours sincerely

      Statement Signed by 40 Tour Operators:
      September 2003

      We, the undersigned, represent tour companies based in Europe. Each
      year, we bring many visitors to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of
      Iceland and, particularly, to experience its rich and varied marine
      wildlife. Iceland is rightly famous as one of the best places in the
      world to watch a variety of whales and dolphins, including the
      majestic blue whale, the largest creature ever to inhabit our
      planet.Minke whales – often the first to approach the whale watch
      boats - are particular favourites. For many of our guests, a whale
      watch trip is one of the highlights of their holiday. A new report
      states that an estimated 62,650 tourists went whale watching in
      Iceland in 2002, producing total revenues to the Icelandic economy in
      excess of 12 million EUR. Around 11% of whale watchers were
      Icelandic, the vast majority (89%) being overseas visitors. The
      report employs a preliminary economic impact assessment model which
      predicts that, by 2007, between 80,000-106,000 people will go whale
      watching in Iceland, bringing revenues of between $17 – 22.5 million
      USD ['The Economic value of whale watching: Economic perspectives of
      whale watching in Iceland'. Geir Oddsson, Landmat International,

      We are, therefore, extremely concerned to learn that Iceland is
      contemplating an imminent return to whaling and has resumed its hunt
      in August 2003. Many people feel strongly that whale watching is not
      compatible with whaling and it is likely that they would reconsider
      visiting Iceland if whaling was once more to be conducted in
      Icelandic waters.

      We therefore urge the Icelandic government to reconsider its whaling
      plans - if not for the whales that are being targeted, then
      forIceland's thriving whale watch industry, and its economy as a

      abenteuerteam.com Reisen
      Association des Grands Voyageurs SA
      Baldinger Reisen AG
      Colibri Umweltreisen
      Dertour GmbH&Co.Kg
      Discover the World/Artic Experience
      Dr. Koch Reisen
      Elke Kaune Reisen
      Explorer Tours & Travel AG
      Explore Worldwide Ltd
      Grand Nord Grand Large
      Heidi Glur Reisebüro
      Hotelplan AG
      Ikarus Tours GmbH
      Internationale Nordland Touristik
      Island Erlebnisreisen
      Island Reisen
      I Tour HDR Voyages
      Kneissl Touristik GmbH
      Kon-Tiki Tours
      Kuoni Reisen AG
      Kuoni France
      Nordisch Reisen AG
      Saga Travel GmbH
      SET Reisen GmbH
      Spitsee Touristik
      TCS Reisen
      Terra Incognita
      Tierra Natuurreizen
      Travel Lounge
      Troll Tours Reisen GmbH
      Trottomundo AG
      TUI AG
      Vreemde Kontinenten
      World Travel Agency
      ZeitRäume Urlaub, Studien, Reisen GmbH

      Source: WDCS

      WDCS is the global voice for the protection of whales, dolphins and
      their environment

      Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
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