Major meetings center planned

NEW YORK -- Iceland is set to build its first stand-alone conference center.

Slated to open in three to four years, the 1,000-capacity center will emerge in the harborfront area of downtown Reykjavik, said Einar Gustavsson, director of the Iceland Tourist Board here.

The $30 million project, funded by the Icelandic government, will include a

privately funded hotel. Construction will begin once a hotel investor signs on.

"Iceland is getting ready for serious meetings business," Gustavsson said. "This is a major breakthrough."

Reykjavik's Radisson SAS Saga hotel currently houses the nation's largest conference venue, capacity 400.

Although the arctic nation has attracted major meetings from Europe -- including American Express and IBM -- few U.S.-based groups have ventured to Iceland, Gustavsson said.

The new technology-laden center should change that, he said.

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