Greenland has a lot to offer. This refers not only to resources such as minerals and fish, but also in terms of landscape and nature. And this in turn attracts more and more tourists who want to visit the largest island in the world with the second largest ice sheet in the world. But Greenland is also still exotic and foreign. In order for the tourism sector to become an effective source of income for Greenland, while continuing to increase interest, stakeholders from the sector want to develop and present themselves to the world public. To this end, the holding of a major international tourism trade fair now provides the appropriate platform.
The “Vestnorden” is the largest regional fair in the tourism sector and includes Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland as destinations. Since 1986, the show has been run by the North Atlantic Tourism Association NATA and is considered the premier trade show for tourism in the North Atlantic region. In the process, the fair is also held every four years in either Greenland or the Faroe Islands, in addition to Iceland. And this year it was the turn of Greenland again to provide the venue for the fair. Since Monday, September 19 and until Thursday, stakeholders from around the world can exchange ideas in Nuuk.
The fair is organized by Visit Greenland and more than 220 suppliers, vendors and experts from the tourism sector answered the call. The importance of the fair this year is shown on the one hand by the fact that the places for the fair were sold out within just under 3 weeks. On the other hand, it is also evident from the list of participants who have traveled to Nuuk especially from all over the world, even coming from equally exotic places like Macau, Korea or Oman. Of course, more traditional countries interested in Greenland, such as Great Britain, France, Germany or Switzerland are also there. Also widely represented are airlines, which are the focus of this year’s show. This is because the expansion of airports in various locations on Greenland will also make them interesting for international airlines beyond Air Greenland and Icelandair, both of which are responsible for regular flights to and from Greenland.
Greenland’s tourism is certainly one of the rising industries in a country with a population of just around 56,000 and a difficult economic development due to the still poorly developed infrastructure. And on the one hand, the government in Nuuk has also recognized the signs of the times with the expansion of the airports. On the other hand, many tourism associations, both at the regional and local level, are calling for better coordination between the government and representatives, implementation of the overall strategy announced in 2018, and a long-term vision of how tourism in Greenland should develop.
We can learn a lot from each other in this industry because we face the same challenges and have the same potential for developmentAnne Nivíka Grødem, Director Visit Greenland
Industry leader Visit Greenland points to its own strategy of growth and expansion and sustainability. Accordingly, they also want to learn from the two neighbors that are part of NATA and avoid making the same mistakes. For this, the new Visit Greenland director Anne Nivíka Grødem sees the current fair as an opportunity to deepen the dialogue with Iceland and the Faroe Islands. “We can learn a lot from each other in this industry because we face the same challenges and have the same potential for development,” she told Sermitsiaq newspaper. This potential has risen sharply again with the closure of the Russian Arctic, and it is to be hoped that the three countries will not suddenly face a flood of a different kind, which will be as difficult to stop as the rise in sea level.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
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