SLOW ADVENTURE TOURISM PART II:

We are used to things moving at a faster and faster pace in our everyday lives. We would like our internet broadband connection to be even faster, and if you get through traffic five minutes faster, it is a success. Likewise, cabin crew will happily brag about if the plane you are on lands earlier than scheduled. Because time is money, right?

In the previous article in this series about slow adventure tourism, we touched on the fact that certain types of tourists are requesting a slower pace, quietude and the grandeur of nature combined with renewal as well as comforts on the journey. If we were to apply our segmenting tools, we could talk about the ”wilderness seeker”, the tourist seeking ”authenticity” and even the ”ethnographer”.

We are used to things moving at a faster and faster pace in our everyday lives. We would like our internet broadband connection to be even faster, and if you get through traffic five minutes faster, it is a success.

It is important to stress though, that a tourist may request the wild nightlife in Las Vegas with all that is offered of heady entertainment from cabarets to casinos on one vacation, while on the next one request the complete opposite, to slow down and find a quiet place to “recharge the batteries”.

At present, there are no firm and recognized definitions of what ”slow tourism” is about. We feel compelled to admit that a few years back, we as the Tourist Board, were too slow in claiming the phrase “adventure tourism” because we focused literally on the word “adventure”...

Scientists are Studying the Phenomena ”Slow Tourism”

In a recent article from the prestigious 'Journal of Travel Research', three scientists from two universities in the USA, point to some interesting facts. It seems the concept of “slow tourism”- or “unplugging” as we recently referred to it in our last B2C newsletter in the article called ”The Five Most Boring Places in Greenland” – seems to be gaining ground and that it also seems to be a new concept for many people, but in reality this form of tourism has always existed side by side with more conventional tourism concepts, including mass tourism. 

At present, there are no firm and recognized definitions of what ”slow tourism” is about. We feel compelled to admit that a few years back, we as the Tourist Board, were too slow in claiming the phrase “adventure tourism” because we focused literally on the word “adventure” and thought about all the mountain bike and kayak tours that we still do not offer in many places in the country, even though the terrain and the ocean are perfect for such activities. Today we think of adventure as a state of mind, that the tourists possess or request, when they consider traveling to Greenland, especially to experience a little adventure regardless of the tourist being an active “out doorsy” type or someone who wants more comforts.

A State of Mind with a Focus on Peace and Calm

Slow tourism can also be seen as the state of mind people want to be in when they arrive here to spend their vacation, in contrast to the speed and the pace they are used to in their daily lives, where they live and work, in places such as London, Frankfurt, Barcelona and Boston.

The scientists, who wrote the article, have found six motivational factors that encourage people to order a trip to some place where they can relax, have some peace and calm and to become a bit introvert.

The first factor is relaxation. A state of mind where one rids oneself of the stress, the aggravation, the worries, and where one seeks an area of comfort, f. ex. a place such as Glacier Lodge Eqi or the hot springs in Uunartoq where reaching this state of mind is possible.

The first factor is relaxation. A state of mind where one rids oneself of the stress, the aggravation, the worries, and where one seeks an area of comfort, f. ex. a place such as Glacier Lodge Eqi or the hot springs in Uunartoq where reaching this state of mind is possible.

However, it is not the goal of the “slow tourism” traveler to see as many places as possible and in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, they prefer to spend more time in fewer, but excellent, places

The third factor is ”escape” and the linguistic synonym would have to be the expression “to sign off” or “disconnect”. That you free yourself from the humdrum of daily routines and life and literally escape from it and for a while take off to a different place that can offer other things. Such as standing in busy, noisy Copenhagen one day and then the very next day set foot in Kapisillit and then hike out into the wilderness.

The fourth factor concerns the ”new” or the ”novelty” and can best be defined by something one has not previously experienced or tried. This may also involve meeting other people and a different culture, which may offer stimulation, excitement and ”adventure”. “Slow tourism” does not exclude fast means of transport such as speedboats, helicopters, planes, etc. However, it is not the goal of the “slow tourism” traveler to see as many places as possible and in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, they prefer to spend more time in fewer, but excellent, places.

Involved Tourists explore and Search for More Knowledge

The fifth factor can be linked to one of the elements from the Big Arctic Five-campaign the pioneering people, and it is a fact that ”slow tourism” travelers want to get involved with the local population, the local traditions, and cultures. Involvement can also be an interest in nature, such as environmental protection. People wish to interact and feel like they are part of the community, even if they are only a short- term visitor.

The sixth and last factor concerns ”acquiring knowledge” or ”discovery” which is a desire to wise up to something you only know a little about or perhaps nothing at all. This sentiment fits well with most of the segment types that visit Greenland today. Many are well-educated and already trained to be interested, inquisitive, and willing to learn new things their whole lives.

This sentiment fits well with most of the segment types that visit Greenland today. Many are well-educated and already trained to be interested, inquisitive, and willing to learn new things their whole lives.

If we cannot deliver the goods when the guests come, they will seek other destinations in spite of what our nature and culture can offer. Destinations who are ready to jump hoops in order to offer exactly what the “slow tourism” traveler wants.

Greater Knowledge of the Tourists Equals Better Business

Why do we need this knowledge? How can we use it? The answer is that it adds yet another layer to our understanding of the many visitors that come to Greenland, what their motivation for coming here is, and it makes it easier for us to target our marketing and our offers of tours and other activities to them.

However, we must not, as professional tour operators conclude that we can relax with the notion that the tourists are going to demand less of us or expect less of us because of “slow tourism” “Slow” must not be confused with “lethargic”. If we cannot deliver the goods when the guests come, they will seek other destinations in spite of what our nature and culture can offer. Destinations who are ready to jump hoops in order to offer exactly what the “slow tourism” traveler wants.


Read the first article in this series focusing on slow tourism.