India and Iceland may establish direct air connectivity by next year, which will provide a fillip to the tourism sector of both the countries. Ambassador of Iceland to India Thorir Ibsen made the announcement during a media interaction here today. He said an Iceland-based private carrier might provide the services. Ibsen said tourism, apart from renewable energy, was one of the biggest contributors to the Nordic country’s resource-based export economy and India’s share in it had risen steadily over the last three years. “The two countries may have direct air connectivity by the fall (autumn) of 2018. A private Iceland carrier may start operating,” Ibsen told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. Ibsen, who took office in September 2014, said India’s share in Iceland’s tourism sector might not reflect in terms of absolute figures, but it had increased by about 50 percent over the last three years.
He informs that trade between the two countries stands at around 60 million US dollars, with India’s share being nearly one-third of the total, which can be “much more”. Although India and Iceland’s’ political relations date back to 1972, it was only in 2006 that Iceland established its embassy in New Delhi. The embassy’s jurisdiction also includes Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, the Seychelles, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Presently, one has to fly via Europe to reach the Nordic country.