International Tourist Guide Day in Iceland

The Iceland Tourist Guide Association in cooperation with a local tour operator and the Hunting Museum in the south of Iceland invited the blind and sight impaired on an excursion to “see” wild animals from Africa on International Tourist Guide Day 21 February 2006. Forty people accepted the invitation which was a great success.

The guests enjoyed the unique opportunity to touch stuffed animals originating in Africa and other continents. Animals on display included a lion, giraffe, warthog, waterbuck and other exotic ones.

The participants were thrilled with the four-hour guided excursion and commented on its educational value. “Today, I touched some foreign animals that I have only heard about but never had an idea what looked like”, a blind young woman said who also mentioned the stuffed birds on display at the museum. “It was fantastic to touch some birds that I have heard so often before in nature but never known what they really looked like, until today”.

Mr. Pall Reynisson and Mrs Frida Magnusdottir own and run the Hunting Museum. “When we had 1000 people walking through our kitchen to see the animals we decided to open up a real museum,” Mr Reynisson told the guests during the visit. The couple shot most of the animals themselves but some 30 are on permanent loan from the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.

Asked if this hobby wasn’t expensive, Mr Reynisson replied: “Hunting is our passion and we save money on other things. We never spend our money on things we don’t need and we even live in the museum itself which is an old storage shed, to save money.”

After visiting the Hunting Museum in Stokkseyri the group was taken on an excursion around the village and afterwards the town of Selfoss, before making an afternoon tea-time stop at the Eden Garden Centre in Hveragerdi. The excursion was planned by Mr Stefan Helgi Valsson, guided by Mr Valur Palsson and Gylfi Gudmundsson and driven by Mr Bergsteinn Hardarsson – all members of the Iceland Tourist Guide Association.

The event attracted the attention of two television stations, three newspapers and three Internet news portals. The State Television presented news about the event during its main evening news. Channel 2, Iceland’s most popular pay subscription television station, mentioned the event during its news programme and featured the event for six minutes in Iceland Today, its magazine programme.

Posted: 04/05/06