Eggert Thor Olason is the Sales Manager for Iceland Congress – a DMC / PCO company in Reykjavík, Iceland, focused on Conferences and Incentives. He is responsible for sales and development of new and existing incentive programs in Iceland, one of the most exciting and unique destinations in Europe, and has been a member of the Site Young Leaders program since 2009. Site Source sat down to talk with him about his career aspirations and involvement in Site.
Site Source: What is your educational and professional background and why did you choose the Travel & Hospitality industry as a profession?
Eggert Olason: I started in the hospitality business at 14 years old with my first job as a hotel bellboy at one of the biggest hotels in Iceland. In 2003, I graduated as a Master Chef from the School of Hospitality and Service in Reykjavik, Iceland. I gained professional experience by working in different countries. In Iceland I worked for a Relais & Chateaux Hotel and from there I moved to London to work for Conran Restaurant, followed by Tavern on the Green and Aquavit in New York; to Relais & Chateaux in the Austrian Alps. I traveled the world following my love for travel and cooking. I gained experience in the motivational experiences industry by working as a guide in Iceland, specializing in Super Jeep tours and snowmobile and adventure activities on the glaciers and in the highlands. In 2010, I graduated from the University of Iceland as a professional tour guide. Being raised by an industry veteran, my mother, Sigrun Sigurðardottir, and having traveled with her when I was young, I got to know the world of PCO and DMC work. Getting involved with the family business was the natural next step in my career.
Site: What are your career aspirations?
Olason: My future plans are to help operate and grow Iceland Congress into the leading DMC / PCO company in Iceland. The future is very exciting, as tourism is the fastest growing industry in Iceland and inbound corporate travel is increasing. The incentive travel industry in Iceland is very young; therefore it’s very important to get the infrastructure and the service levels right. Like Yoda thought, there is no trying only doing. For me it’s a privilege to be part of helping the industry develop and prosper.
Site: What or who motivated you to join Site?
Olason: That’s an easy one, when I was growing up following my mother on her trips and getting the souvenirs from the different corners of the world, I saw what this industry was about and knew that I wanted to be a part of it. I got involved in Site in 2009 at the Young Leaders Conference in Iceland. Meeting and getting to know other young industry professionals from different regions of the world, all having the same passion and goals, was very inspiring.
Site: What do you feel are the most valuable benefits of being a member of Site, specifically Site Young Leaders?
Olason: There are many great benefits of being a Site member. I get these questions asked by young professionals or potential new members at every tradeshow. Why should I be a part of Site Young Leaders? What will I get out of being part of Site Young leaders? The answers are simple: You get to know and make valuable connections with people in the business through networking like none other in the industry. The Site educational programs are also an extremely valuable part of the Young Leaders program and have been a great success at our conferences. Last but not the least, I have built strong professional relationships and lasting friendships with colleagues in the business around the globe.