The aim of Vakinn is to further quality, safety and environmental awareness within Icelandic tourism and at the same time to strengthen a sense of social responsibility among actors in the field.
The quality accreditation system consists of:
- A star grading system for accommodation.
- Quality certification for Tourism services other than accommodation.
General quality criteria and activity specific criteria
The classification for tourism services other than accommodation is based on two types of criteria:
- General quality criteria applicable to all tourism providers other than accommodation.
- Specific quality criteria for each activity, a total of 24 sets of criteria including criteria for guided walks in populated areas, criteria for horse trekking, criteria for snowmobile tours and criteria for restaurants to name a few.
The system is a pass or fail and not based on star grading.
To qualify for a Vakinn certification
tourism providers have to fulfil 70% of the requirements of the general criteria and 100% of the applicable specific criteria.
To be certified the companies must meet 70% of the general criteria. However there are minimum requirements that everyone must fulfil. The remainder falls into the three levels good, better and best. Furthermore, all holders of a Vakinn certification must meet 100% of the specific criteria relevant to the categories within which they operate.
Success in tourism is based on vigorous marketing activities. Little is to be gained by such efforts, however, if the guests’ actual experiences fall short of expectations. The internet, with social media, interactive venues and travel websites such as TripAdvisor, Facebokk and Twitter has revolutionized the marketing landscape, providing consumers with rapidly expanding opportunities to voice their perspectives. When people make travel-related decisions they look increasingly for comments made by earlier visitors. What were their experiences? Did the trip live up to their expectations? Quality issues are therefore the most important factor for the reputation of Icelandic tourism and participating in a quality system can also create a competitive advantage for companies.
75% of foreign tourists claim that it is important to their choice of tourist service company that the company has a recognised quality certification.*
* A survey from the Icelandic Tourist Board among foreign tourist in Iceland during the winter of 2015-2016