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A new app has been developed to help visitors to Iceland enjoy a ‘whale-friendly’ trip.
‘Whappy’ was launched today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) offering information on restaurants which have pledged not to serve whale meat.
The app also contains information about whale watching operators, whale friendly souvenirs and an identification guide for whales and dolphins that can be seen in Icelandic waters.
Sigursteinn Masson, IFAW’s Icelandic representative, said: “The new app is another way of informing tourists visiting our beautiful country about the wonder of whale watching, but it also helps them make whale friendly decisions and ensure their trip does not leave a bad taste in their mouth.
“Many tourists are not fully aware of the contradiction of going whale watching then later eating whale meat.
“Icelanders have very little appetite for whale meat these days, so if tourists sample whale meat in our restaurants they are contributing directly to the number of whales being killed.”
In collaboration with Icelandic whale watching operators’ coalition IceWhale, IFAW operates a summer ‘Meet Us Don’t Eat Us’ campaign.
The project was launched in 2010 after a survey on Iceland found that the trade for whale meat was being largely driven by tourists.
The percentage of tourists who say they have tasted whale meat has more than halved over the last five years from 40% in 2009 to 18% in 2014.
The ‘whale friendly restaurants’ scheme has resulted in less than 50% of restaurants now offering whale meat on the menu. The rest have pledged not to serve whale meat and display a whale friendly sticker in their windows.
Masson added: “We hope tourists and tour operators will use our Whappy app and help enhance tourists’ experience. Iceland is one of the best destinations in Europe for whale watching with the opportunity to see a huge variety of species of whale and dolphin.”
Whale watching is one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland, generating around £10 million annually and attracting more than 220,000 tourists each year.