"Stopover Buddies" Are Not Tour Guides - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Stopover Buddies” Are Not Tour Guides

Published February 8, 2016

Photos by
Arpingstone/Wikimedia Commons

Icelandair’s new “stopover buddy” service is not encroaching upon the work of tour guides, the airline says.

Icelandair recently announced a new service for its costumers: the stopover buddy. People traveling by Icelandair who book a stopover in Iceland will be able to book an Icelandair employee to hang out with them, because “they do all kinds of interesting activities when they’re off-duty, such as sea swimming, mountain biking, heli-skiing, cross-country running, knitting pink jumpers, and a lot more.”

The service has apparently drawn criticism as being an encroachment upon workers in the tourism industry, likening the stopover buddy to being on par with Icelandair offering its own tour guides. RÚV reports that Icelandair denies this is the case.

The airline told reporters that the stopover buddy is only available to people spending a single day stopping over in Iceland. Customers will simply hang out with this Icelandair employee for the day; these employees will not be taking individuals or groups on any guided tours of Iceland.

About 200 Icelandair employees have filed requests to be stopover buddies and, of those, 12 have been chosen with some 20 to 30 in reserves. These numbers may change if demand for the service grows.

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