Next year, 2020, looks to be an exciting year, like 2019. We now publish in five languages: English, Chinese, German, French and the Icelandic Land & saga as well as our Nordic Times magazine. The publication stands out among magazines in Iceland, serving its nationals as well as over 2 million tourists visiting the country annually. China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic in October 2019 and Icelandic Times dedicated its autumn edition to the Chinese people and the strong relationship between the two countries.  There is a saying in China that if you can’t walk on the Moon, go to Iceland and over 100,000 Chinese tourists did just that in 2019. Chinese airlines will start scheduled flights to Iceland via Helsinki and Icelandic Times will be available to passengers on board and the Nordic Times to passengers flying solely into Helsinki. We are expanding our network in China, with our own platform on WeChat social media and working with AliPay, the world’s most popular mobile phone payment solution with 900 million users, putting QR codes and AliPay codes in the magazines, opening up Iceland to Chinese tourists. AliPay handles more than 70% of Chinese payments through mobile phones. The massive Chinese markets are also opening up to Icelandic firms, which is evident in the sea food and geothermal industries. On the political front, we interviewed UK’s Ambassador to Iceland, as Great Britain prepares to leave the EU and Iceland prepares a Free Trade Agreement with the UK. In 2013, Iceland signed a Free Trade Agreement with China, the first European country to do so. It keeps close relations with Europe through the European Economic Area with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Hans Walter Steinmeier visiting the country. We interviewed Germany’s Ambassador on the close relationship between the countries. In 2019, Iceland welcomed Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry from the United States. Also this year, Iceland welcomed India’s President Ram Nayth Kovind.

Einar Th. Thorsteinsson