GREENLAND: UKKUSISSAT, NARSAQ AND QAANAAQ
Communities in the High North, peripheral and of a small scale, struggling for economic self-sufficiency and with a decreasing
population, are trying to find new development options and ways to bring in revenues. Tourism has proven to be one of the options,
but not all places respond in an equal way.
When talking about the development of tourism at a regional scale, local communities are rarely, involved in the tourism planning
process. Indeed, tourism is a way to develop something that has an important component, “the human capital”, where the
relationship between tourism development and community dynamics directly involves the local residents.
For local communities, a significant socioeconomic factor is the proportion of tourism income that can be captured by the local
economy. Such income is generated through employment in tourism-related services, such as food and lodging, gasoline, local tour
guiding, and selling of souvenirs. Small tourism businesses can often be a good option for young men and women.
In this paper, after an overview about the development of tourism in Greenland, I present the achievements and drawbacks of
three peripheral Greenlandic communities: Ukkusissat, Narsaq, and Qaanaaq, which are trying to develop tourism as a possible
source of additional income. Specifically, I discuss the role of the local person in charge of tourism, the lack of information and
access to resources for the local population.
The three cases presented here are derived from field work and research projects done in Greenland at different points of time.
Tourism in Greenland: A Brief Overview
Development and Planning of Tourism in Greenland
In Greenland, organised tourism started in the late 1950s. Greenland’s status as a colony changed in
1953, when Greenland became a Danish province and the authorities decided to open up certain
Daniela Tommasini is a Senior Lecturer at the Multidimensional Tourism Institute, University of Lapland.