Project Opal a great success: NORTH SAILING WINS AWARDS FOR RESPONSIBLE TOURISM
North Sailing has been named the joint-Silver winner of the Best Innovation for Carbon Reduction category at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at World Travel Market in London.
North Sailing won the silver at the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, November 4th. This is the first time that an Icelandic tourism company is honoured in such a way at the WTM, one of the largest and most important travel industry events in the world. The award was granted for North Sailing’s Opal project, the development of a carbon-free, electrically generated whale watching vessel; the first of its kind in Iceland.
Opal, a sailing vessel, is the most technologically advanced vessel in the Icelandic whale watching industry, boasting of a specifically designed Regenerative Plug-In Hybrid Propulsion System, and equipped to recharge her batteries while under sails. On a day-to-day basis, the ship’s batteries are recharged when docked, utilizing the sustainable energy of Iceland’s energy grid. However, when the vessel is under sails, the propeller blades can be modified and used to recharge the ship’s batteries. The operation of the whale watching vessel is therefore silent, which not only improves the experience of the whale watching guests but significantly minimizes the disturbance to the whales. The technique has gathered much attention abroad, and now North Sailing has been awarded for the eco-friendly initiative.
Managing Director of North Sailing, Guðbjartur Ellert Jónsson, receives the award accompanied by
Justin Francis and Professor Harold Goodwin from WTM Responsible Tourism
Environmental Awards & Company of the Year
During the Icelandic Tourist Board’s annual Tourism Convention, held in Akureyri last October, North Sailing was honoured with the 2015 Environmental Awards. The panel of judges paid special attention to the Opal project, as well as the company’s emphasis on the preservation and maintenance of old oak vessels.
Last but not least, North Sailing was honoured to be chosen as the Company of the Year by Visit North Iceland. This acknowledgement is given to companies that have established themselves within the marketplace, and that continuously work on their advancement and product development.
Last September, Eldey TLH hf. joined North Sailing’s group of shareholders. Eldey invests in strong recreational companies that focus on improvement, product development and sustainability. Other shareholders are the founders and brothers Hörður and Árni Sigurbjarnarson, and Heimir Harðarsson.
North Sailing’s General Manager, Guðbjartur Ellert Jónsson, says that the WTM awards, the Environmental Awards of the Icelandic Tourist Board, and the acknowledgement from Visit North Iceland are of great importance to the company. “Travellers are increasingly more aware of environmental effects, and acknowledgements such as these encourage us to continue to develop a sustainable, and environmentally friendly tourism. There are exciting times ahead; strengthening and improving the company’s sustainable line of services, and working with a new shareholder which certainly adds wind to our sails.”
Opal in Greenland 2015