Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 6 News List

FEATURE: Greenland tourism boost brings development fears


Greenland must tackle its infrastructure challenges if it wants to develop tourism, Visit Greenland said.

Government-funded work is under way to extend runways at the capital, Nuuk, and Ilulissat, both on the west coast, and a new airport is planned in the south.

The tourist body said it would weigh the impact of boosting infrastructure on the environment and on local communities.

Ipsen worries about the effects of uncontrolled tourism to the region.

“We want to try to maintain it as it is, so it’s not exploding,” he said.

Already the rise in visitor numbers is making itself felt, said Johanna Bjork Sveinbjornsdottir, who runs tours in Kulusuk for an Iceland-based company.

“In the campsites here out in nature where you used to be alone, there’s two, three groups at a time,” Sveinbjornsdottir said.

Like Ipsen, she is also concerned about the effect that rising visitor numbers could have on the wilderness around the village.

“If you want nature to survive that, you have to build up the infrastructure,” she said, pointing to the lack of officially designated campsites around Kulusuk, with no trash cans or toilets for travelers outdoors and no one supervising the sites.

Despite the concerns, Sveinbjornsdottir hopes visitors will keep coming.

“They go back as different people,” she said. “Everything is beyond what you ever imagined.”

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