“I’m excited to sell more Greenland now!”
FAM TRIP IN A NUTSHELL
In early August 2016, 8 European tourism agents traveled to Ilulissat via two Air Greenland routes - the long-standing Copenhagen / Kangerlussuaq connection and the direct flight from Keflavik which debuted this summer.
Over the course of five nights, Visit Greenland hosted the participants as we circumnavigated Disko Bay by closed boat, staying overnight in Qasigiannguit, Aasiaat and Qeqertarsuaq, plus Ilulissat for the first and last day.
The week’s activities included whale watching, dining with local families, tasting Greenlandic specialties, hiking, kayaking, sightseeing in town, and of course, sailing, and we stayed in accommodations that ranged from guesthouses to four-star hotels.
FIVE BIG TAKEAWAY IMPRESSIONS
1. Disko Bay is the whale watching hotspot. Over the course of four days, we saw 60 Humpback and Fin whales. Part of this was thanks to spending so much time sailing - approximately 8 hours in total - but also, in Qeqertarsuaq the Humpback whales were so close to land jumping, feeding, swimming, and singing.
Tip for operators: where relevant for your company, highlight the whale watching possibilities, while still noting that they are wild animals and spotting them is never guaranteed.
2. People love to sail. Even though sailing was “just” transportation for us, it was an exciting adventure all on its own for the participants. It also creates a mood of exploration to see a town come into focus on the horizon and arrive to its harbour.
“Qeqertarsuaq has the most beautiful and dramatic nature I’ve seen on the west coast.”
“I couldn’t recommend a trip to Greenland highly enough. It was fantastic!”
3. Disko Bay is a great region to combine adventure and luxury. Each town and settlement has its own flair and highlight, which travellers can experience as a full picture by visiting multiple places in the same trip. The buzz was that hiking in Qeqertarsuaq followed by a night or two unwinding at the private lodges in Ilimanaq would be fantastic. Or that staying in Ilulissat to try the Greenlandic Buffet at Restaurant Mamartut before heading down to Aasiaat to rent kayaks sounded adventurous.
Tip for operators: work together to create combination trips so that each of you can focus on your strengths while still benefitting equally from visitation.
“Other places call themselves whale-watching capitals, but [Disko Bay] is the real deal because you’ve got the rocky coastline, the icebergs in the sea, and the whales - and you’ve got it all for yourself. There’s nobody else around!”
4. Difficulty level is subjective. What Greenlanders might consider a relaxing walk in the hills, a guest from the UK might consider the most challenging physical activity they have ever tried. There was a wide range of physical fitness levels and experience levels amongst the participants, who were in their 30’s and 40’s, so just imagine what it could be with guests who are typically in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
Tip for operators: When describing the difficulty level of your products - a hiking tour, for example - use as many numerical qualifiers as possible. Talk about how many km a tour is and how many meters elevation change.
5. The potential in Disko Bay, outside of Ilulissat, is huge. Of those agents who do not yet promote Ilimanaq, Qeqertarsuaq and Oqaatsut, they all said they were “Very likely” to add these places to their portfolios. and of those agents who do not yet promote Qasigiannguit and Aasiaat, half of them said they were “Somewhat likely” to add them to their portfolios.
Disko Bay FAM Trip
- Dates: 2-7 August 2016
- Purpose: to capitalise on increased flight capacity to Ilulissat in order to spread tourism impact to the rest of Disko Bay
- Towns & Settlements Visited: Ilimanaq, Qasigiannguit, Aasiaat, Qeqertarsuaq, Oqaatsut and Ilulissat
- Number of Agent Participants: 8
- Agent Nationalities: UK, Germany, Iceland, Holland, France and Denmark
- Experience: Hike to Kuannit in Qeqertarsuaq (in partnership with SikuAput)
- Meal: at Hotel Diskobay in Qasigiannguit - smoked salmon appetizer, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce main course, crowberry cake dessert
- Hotel: Aasiaat Seamen’s Home
CONTINUED LOCAL COOPERATION IS ALPHA & OMEGA
The Disko Bay FAM Trip went off without a hitch thanks to a cooperative effort between Visit Greenland, Air Greenland, Qaasuitsup Kommunia and 14 local operators in 6 different towns and settlements.
Such an integrated partnership of stakeholders at every level of the supply chain is necessary in order to lift such a large project, and for that, Visit Greenland is thankful. We look forward to continuing such a pattern throughout Greenland so that we can all lift tourism here together.