Visit Greenland is working with Icelandic and Greenlandic partners to expand the winter season in East Greenland.
Visit Greenland is working with Icelandic and Greenlandic partners to expand the winter season in East Greenland and to use this knowledge to create a stronger platform for the general development of winter opportunities as a core part of the Greenland experience.
While the annual cycle in Greenland is dominated by winter, the season of northern lights, dogsledding, frost, and snow is not always the first to come to mind when travelers think about when to travel here.
However, winter in Greenland is an adventure in itself, and Visit Greenland is currently engaged in a number of initiatives that combine to make a more orchestrated season expansion effort both regionally and on the national level.
Developing the East Greenland winter experience
A recent destination development project underneath this umbrella of activities put a group of stakeholders on the ground in East Greenland in March this year with the clear goal of creating a better platform for winter experiences in the Ammassalik District, especially around Tasiilaq, Kulusuk, Tiniteqilaaq, and Kuummiut.
This was done in a NATA co-funded partnership between Icelandic Mountain Guides, Travellodge Greenland, and Visit Greenland who all pooled resources into the common goal together with Air Iceland, Siggi Tours, and Destination East Greenland.
“We are not afraid of competition in this space.”
Having identified the need to create a partnership between commercial and non-commercial stakeholders the project on the ground focused on a number of tangible milestones related to supporting new and existing initiatives in the area:
- Creating new marketing materials through photos and videos,
- Testing and adjust existing products offered by Icelandic Mountain Guides and Travellodge Greenland, especially those centered around dogsledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and alpine skitouring,
- Scouting new opportunities and helping local providers in the settlements improve product quality and delivery.
“We believe more players are required in the marketplace for it to become a better long term business for everyone involved."
Local, regional, and national horizons meet in one project
Behind this hands-on approach inside the destination itself, Visit Greenland is also working with a number of Icelandic tour operators to identify the most common challenges and potentials related to selling and operating winter experiences in Greenland, based around a case study of their experience with East Greenland.
Through interviews with these Icelandic stakeholders, experiences drawn from the journey in East Greenland, and knowledge provided by Icelandic Mountain Guides and Travellodge Greenland about current operational challenges in the region, it is possible to create a better understanding of what it takes to boost the development of winter adventures, not just in East Greenland but hopefully also in general around the country.
The philosophy of sharing knowledge and experiences
To successfully merge the practical activities in East Greenland with industry background information it was necessary to keep an open-source inspired approach to existing product and operational knowledge.
This is exactly what Icelandic Mountain Guides and Travellodge Greenland provided by allowing Visit Greenland to learn and share experiences from different tours in East Greenland, how they are run, and how they could potentially be further developed and marketed.
“We are not afraid of competition in this space”, Icelandic Mountain Guides co-founder and Incoming Director Einar Torfi Finnsson told us, when we asked why his company was willing to share their East Greenland experiences with other stakeholders."
The East Greenland Season Expansion project is currently in its final stages of data collection, and by the summer of 2015 Visit Greenland and the project partners will share the key insights with NATA and all other relevant stakeholders.
“We actually believe more players are required in the marketplace for it to become a better long term business for everyone involved. It will improve the entire region if more operators start sending guests there - and it is easier to get more local development, outside and regional investment, and provider professionalization if there is a higher business demand from the outside.”
“So once we realized that while we might have a first mover advantage in the area, we also need more companies to shoulder the development challenges and advantages. From there it was fairly straightforward for us to get involved in a project like this, where both we and others gain both in the short and long run”.
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