Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Thu May 28 2015

'Whappy' Is A Whale Of An App In Iceland

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | May 28, 2015

'Whappy' Is A Whale Of An App In Iceland

Illustration courtesy of the IFAW.

Launched today in Reykjavik by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the free app, “whappy” has all the information that you need to dine at whale-friendly restaurants, to find whale watching operators, locations of whale-friendly souvenir shops and even 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.”

A whale-friendly restaurant is one in which they have pledged not to serve whale meat.  Although only about three percent of Icelanders claim to regularly eat whale meat, just five years ago more than 40 percent of tourists have tasted whale meat.  That number has since fallen to less than 18 percent since the IFAW launched their “Meet Us Don't Eat Us” campaign in 2010.

"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."

Less than half of the restaurants on the island offer whale meat since the inception of the campaign and with the introduction of the app, that number is expected to fall.

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."

Generating around £10 million annually and attracting more than 220,000 tourists each year, whale watching is now one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland.  Certainly most would say they are worth more to the economy alive than dead.

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