Greenland’s tourism industry faces bleak year

disko-bay1When the world’s travellers begin to feel the pinch of the global economic recession, exotic far-flung destinations are typically the first to suffer. Such is the case with Greenland, which is expecting significantly lower visitor numbers this year as a result of the downturn.

Sermitsiaq News reports that southern Greenland’s largest tour operator, Blue Ice Explorer, is already preparing for a weak summer season. Tourists are opting not to enjoy the world’s more exclusive destinations, primarily due to the sharp rise in airfares. Blue Ice Explorer says that tickets on Air Greenland have jumped by as much as 33 percent for routes between Denmark and Greenland.

“Customers are opting out of expensive holidays with guides,” said Jackie Simoud, the co-owner of Blue Ice Explorer. “We are therefore predicting a downturn in profits of 20 percent. This is equivalent to a decrease of approximately one million Danish kroner.”

A knock-on effect is that many businesses and their employees connected to the tourism trade will suffer this year as well. Blue Ice employees 21 staff during a regular high season to cater to the 2,000 or so customers it deals with annually. Simoud told the news agency that it will only keep five full-time staff on the books this season.

However, one area of Greenland that appears to be weathering the storm is the extreme southern town of Nanortalik. A local tour operator, Nanortalik Tourism, says it is already sold out of its package holidays for the upcoming summer season. The owner was quick to point out, however, that they only offer 60 places each season.

Comments are closed.