National Tourism Statistics Report

The national tourism statistics report from Visit Greenland regarding 2017 has now been published and is available for download on Danish versions of the 5 regional reports are available from 7/5-18. The Greenlandic and English versions of the regional reports are currently being translated.

A Healthy Growth

Since 2014 Greenland has seen three consecutive years of  healthy growth in tourism after a number of years of general decline following the financial crisis.

The data from 2017 has been affected by incomplete registrations of the country of residence of flight passengers to an extent that the existing data is not representative, but this gap of knowledge is outweighed by a survey with responses from 82 out of 240 Greenlandic tourism operators. Visit Greenland, Statistics Greenland and Mittarfeqarfiit are currently launching initiatives to ensure a more complete registration of the flight passengers in 2018.

The data from accommodation shows a total growth of approximately 10 %, and cruise data shows an increase of 13 % more passengers. These numbers held up against statements from 82 Greenlandic tourism operators, paint a positive picture of tourism development in the country.

Based on the number of tourist overnight stays, Sermersooq West is the only region with a negative growth of -8.7 %, even when one takes into account the extraordinary event Arctic Winter Games 2016. Region Qeqqata has experienced zero growth and the other regions a relatively high growth.

Feedback from Greenlandic Tourism Operators

Visit Greenland has asked Greenlandic tourism operators about their 2017 season and their expectations for 2018. The fact that feedback from this survey shows that 94.5 % either experienced no change or growth in 2017 supports the trend in the overnight stay numbers.

When asked about their expectations for the 2018 tourist season most tourism operators’ responses were as positive as the feedback on the 2017 season. The survey was carried out in march at a time when most operators already have solid indications of bookings made for 2018.


Even though 2017 saw a 13 % increase in the number of cruise passengers compared with 2016, 2017 on average saw fewer port calls in Greenlandic cities per passenger. However, there are no existing data on how many passengers that in actually came ashore and spent money on merchandise and tourism products compared with 2016.

What the Tourists Said

The report also showcases fresh data from 292 face to face interviews conducted with land based tourists in July-August 2017. By and large the interviews confirm the theories that Visit Greenland works with, even though a few surprises can be found.  For example, a staggering 51% of the interviewed tourists arrived in Greenland via Iceland, and 86 % of those spent vacation days in Iceland as part of the same vacation. Furthermore, the survey showed a high level of satisfaction with the experiences had in Greenland. When asked about concrete negative elements during their vacation, litter in the streets ranked highly.  

It is very uplifting that so many of the interviewees expressed that they would strongly consider coming back to the country at some time in the future.