In Greenland, tourism is one of the key business pillars and thus investments must be made in tourism development. Quality and safety should be a foundation for the development of the Greenlandic tourism industry. Greenland is an expensive destination and development should, therefore, be based on high quality and safety in tourism products and in the delivery of experiences. In this process, an assurance of quality in the tourism industry will provide a competitive edge, so Greenland will be on par with the adventure destinations with which we are in most competition.
 
It is, however, important to note that, by referring to 'quality', we do not mean that Greenland must become a 5-star destination. The true quality of Greenland is its raw nature, its authenticity and the unique local experiences that the industry can deliver.

"By quality we do not mean that Greenland must become a 5-star destination. The true quality of Greenland is its raw nature, its authenticity and the unique local experiences that the industry can deliver"

”It is an important signal that the tourism industry seeks a system in which we can continually work towards improving quality in regards to increased service, sustainability and safety,”

The Industry Wants Visible and Tangible Quality

Here at Visit Greenland, we think back to the Towards More Tourism (TMT) conference in November 2018 with joy and pride. It was magnificent to experience the drive and commitment that buzzes in the industry. TMT resulted in 11 strong recommendations  from the industry itself. Recommendation number 5 talks of the importance of, on a national level, establishing a certification system for quality, safety and the environment that fits into a Greenlandic context.  
 
”It is an important signal that the tourism industry seeks a system in which we can continually work towards improving quality in regards to increased service, sustainability and safety,” says Julia Pars, Managing Director of Visit Greenland.
 
Since the TMT conference, Visit Greenland has worked to devise and design a quality label scheme based on safety, service, the environment and cultural considerations. Knowledge has been gathered from other destinations and international and national schemes and systems in order to create the best foundation for developing a quality label scheme that is tailored to Greenlandic conditions.

A Quality Label Scheme Rather Than a Certification

The first step has been to move away from calling it a certification scheme, but rather to call it a quality label scheme. We believe that this fits better in a Greenlandic context as one could quickly associate a certification with costly third-party verification and heavy audit reports.  
 
”This effort is not meant to intimidate the industry with a cumbersome process, but rather give rise to a dialogue and focused quality advice. This will help increase quality and create development and pride in the industry,” Julia Pars continues.
 
The quality guidance is to be supported by a corresponding quality label scheme, e.g. a star label. A clear label is useful in marketing, as it increases transparency not only for the customers but also among the operators.    
 
It is expected that the label scheme can be put into effect in approximately 2 years. Ahead of us is the establishing phase and it is important to get the right start and give the concept time to develop properly. Visit Greenland approaches this project with great sincerity and we will continue our focused efforts towards a transverse national quality label scheme. We will, going forward, seek inputs from all stakeholders and encourage the industry to take ownership.

”This effort is not meant to intimidate the industry with a cumbersome process, but rather give rise to a dialogue and focused quality advice. This will help increase quality and create development and pride in the industry,”

What Do We Mean By…

QUALITY LABEL SCHEME

A visible label scheme built on complying with criteria under select main themes such as service and visibility – safety – environment and culture. If you meet the criteria you visibly qualify your product via the label. A label scheme will highlight an improvement in quality, making it a competitive advantage to work towards a higher level. This ensures transparency for the customer as well as an improvement of the overall image of Greenland as a tourism destination.
 

SERVICE AND VISIBILITY

Criteria will be set for how to best offer good service, how to make one’s product visible and how to make booking easy. This is basically about reliability and hospitality as well as ensuring local anchoring and commitment. Here, one criterion could be that you must have a policy for employees regarding service and safety. Another could be how to best make one’s products visible and which information should be included.

 

SAFETY

Safety is at the centre of the quality assurance of tourism experiences offered in Greenland. The criteria for safety in the quality label scheme should, therefore, be activity-specific  (kayaking, hiking, boat trips etc.). The design of the experience criteria can be based on existing legislation as well as international standards.
 

ENVIRONMENT, NATURE AND CULTURE

Tourism does have an impact on nature and ecosystems, and growth in tourism increases the risk of even further negative impact. Therefore, it is important to set up rules and control mechanisms to strengthen the protection and preservation of nature and relieve the impact as much as possible. Furthermore, the increase in tourism could affect Greenlandic cultural heritage negatively - but through communication, management and monitoring, tourism can be practiced without it having irreversible consequences for nature and culture. Separate criteria under these three themes in a Greenlandic context will optimize this.