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Iceland’s economic woes is good news for US travelers

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Written by editor

The devaluation of the Icelandic krona (ISK) is good news for US travelers, if they have Iceland on their list of places to visit and if they can travel next month.

The devaluation of the Icelandic krona (ISK) is good news for US travelers, if they have Iceland on their list of places to visit and if they can travel next month.

Visitors from the US to Iceland can enjoy the best exchange rate in recent memory, the Icelandic Tourist Board (ITB) has said. “For a time in 2007, one dollar netted just 58 Icelandic krona (ISK). As of early this month, one dollar grew to equal 105 krona. More krona – nearly twice the spending power of a year ago – equals lower prices.”

According to the ITB, Icelandair just slashed fares to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, from New York or Boston to $400 round trip, about what a one-way fare once cost. This fare is good for travel November 1 through March 31, 2009.

As an add-on in November only, Icelandair is offering a 3-night “Winter Madness” package at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, with daily breakfast, for only $149 per person double occupancy. This top-rated hotel typically goes for over $200 per night. The Hilton offers guests the very best in upscale room facilities and amenities, and the very best in contemporary Icelandic and international cuisine at the hotel’s highly regarded gourmet VOX Restaurant, Bistro and Bar.

Devaluation is also great news for visitors to Laugavegur and Bankastræti, the main shopping streets of Reykjavik with numerous shops selling designer clothes, the ITB added.

Prices have gone down. A hot dog in downtown Reykjavik, at about 210 ISK, is now about $2, versus $3.50 last year; and a one-day trip with Reykjavik Excursions to Snæfellsjökull glacier, featured in Jules Verne’s “The Journey to the Centre of the Earth,” is a real bargain now. The 11,500 ISK cost is only about $109, versus almost $200 a year ago.

“You think the geysirs, bubbling hot springs, raging rivers, the country’s 10,000 waterfalls, and its spectacular scenery look any different in a depressed economy? We think not. If Iceland is on your bucket list, now’s the time. Book a long three-day weekend for $549 and see for yourself,” said Einar Gustavsson, executive director of the Icelandic Tourist Board in New York.

“Compared to other European destinations that make Americans feel like paupers, when you pay in dollars, Icelanders will give you the royal treatment.”

October 21, 2008 is the deadline to book this deal, and taxes are an additional $76-$90.