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Adventure travel is driven by the desire to offer quality experiences based in local communities and a set of core values that help protect and develop the environment, the natural surroundings and culture in a sustainable way. 

Adventure travel operators that have local knowledge and a strong network will also have a natural advantage in their home patch. This is because successful entrepreneurs in adventure travel often know how to combine the art of running a business and passion with local knowledge and experience.

Local knowledge and passion

Travellodge Greenland’s founder, Lars Anker Møller, worked for years as a hunter in Tasiilaq, before he decided to use his experience to set up and run a tour company.  The business is enjoying steady growth in eastern Greenland and offers, for example, dog sledding, hiking, photo tours, ice diving, ski tours and expedition support. 

“Our business is mainly built on local resources,” says Lars. “The people I now work with are those I knew from when I was working as a hunter. The fact that we can use local people to drive dog sleds, manage the logistics, open their doors to visitors, put on drum dances, etc., is what makes our product offering good.”  

“The people I now work with are those I knew from when I was working as a hunter".

“We are also determined to ensure that all the partners and agents we work with have an eco-friendly profile."

Sustainability comes in many forms

Adventure travel in Greenland will always face the challenges of a difficult climate and long distances. For example, it is difficult to put in place a transport infrastructure that is both 100% sustainable and profitable.

However, for Travellodge, there are many ways in which one can look after the environment and the natural world.

“First and foremost, we always ensure that everything we take on a tour comes back home.  In other words, we do not leave any rubbish in the great outdoors. We also designate specific toilet stops on our trips, so that we do not leave this type of detritus everywhere we go. However, we do not build toilets in all camps because we feel that this would spoil a pristine landscape.”

“We are also determined to ensure that all the partners and agents we work with have an eco-friendly profile. Some of them are WWF members and advertise this on their websites. This tells us that we are dealing with an operator who thinks sustainably.”

Responsibility and education

There is more to adventure tourism than active experiences and care for the natural environment. Travellodge also promotes a scheme that is unique in Greenland.

Given that educational opportunities are difficult to access for local hunters with an annual income of under DKK 100,000, Lars Anker has set about upgrading the safety and navigation qualifications for a number of local hunters.

“We have to understand that many of those who now work in tourism are still active hunters. In these occupations, they have to combine their income from various sources, but this can be difficult to achieve without the right training and qualifications.”

“We therefore started working with Sermersooq Business Council and Greenland’s Employers’ Confederation to offer free training to a number of fishermen and hunters – and not just to our own boatmen – so that they can get the latest knowledge and qualifications they need.” 

“You might ask why we do it for others, but we see it as an investment in the development of the local community. Education opens doors for more people in tourism and fishing. It also helps the economy in eastern Greenland and benefits Travellodge Greenland directly”.

For Lars Anker, the company’s growth and its sense of social responsibility are closely connected. Lars Anker also offers his employees English lessons. The carrot for taking the language course is a wage rise.

However, as Lars says, “In Tasiilaq, people do not go to work to earn money. They work because they like it and because it’s fun. The challenge for employers is to create a working environment that is enjoyable and exciting and to ensure that their business is profitable. If we are not able to do that, people will just go back to working as hunters.”

Lars Anker has set about upgrading the safety and navigation qualifications for a number of local hunters.

READ THE OTHER STORIES IN THE ADVENTURE SERIES ABOUT GREENLAND

 

WHAT IS ADVENTURE TRAVEL IN GREENLAND?

The core values of adventure tourism are what underpin tourism in Greenland. Growth in employment and income in the coming years will come from companies that think sustainably, take responsibility for culture and the environment and understand how to involve visitors in active experiences.

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KEY FACTS ON ADVENTURE TRAVEL

Between 2010 and 2014, the adventure tourism industry grew by 195%. Greenland has every opportunity to become part of this international trend which is generating more money for local communities and raising awareness of responsible tourism.

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ADVENTURE IN PRACTICE - GREENLAND OUTDOORS

Jens-Pavia Brandt’s company Greenland Outdoors specialises in combining kayaking, wildlife tours, storytelling, and hiking in the backcountry around Kangerlussuaq.

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ADVENTURE SEGMENTS IN GREENLAND

Visit Greenland's work with mapping and segmentation of tourists in Greenland is closely related to the definitions of adventure by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and in this article we will explore how the two models are connected.

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ADVENTURE IN PRACTICE - INUK HOSTELS

Liisi Egede Hegelund offers a combination of accommodation and cultural encounters in a backcountry oasis right in the heart of Nuuk’s urban environment, and her concept shows how adventure in Greenland can be based just as much in urban settings as in the mountains.

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FRAMEWORK CONDITIONS AS A TOOL FOR ENHANCING VALUE

Natural and cultural resources are the building blocks for adventure tourism, and public-private collaboration on preservation and protection can create a platform for sustainable resource management and future business development.

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ADVENTURE IN PRACTICE - TRAVELLODGE GREENLAND

Travellodge Greenland in East Greenland has created strong adventure tourism products. It is now a growing business based on local knowledge, passion and a desire to make a difference in the local community.

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SHARED RESPONSIBILITY THROUGHOUT THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Partnership between companies in a supply chain can be critical for local and global implementation of business development based on sustainable and responsible business practice.

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ADVENTURE IN PRACTICE - PGI GREENLAND

PGI Greenland is a newly set-up company in the Disko Bay. In a busy market, PGI Greenland has found a niche in adventure-based tourism, developed in close collaboration with local logistics providers and an international partner.

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HUMAN RESOURCES AND ADVENTURE

Professional guides are one of a tour operator’s main assets. The guides must have specialised knowledge that can inspire and help the company’s clients in a way that is safe and responsible.

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ADVENTURE TRAVEL TRADE ASSOCIATION

Together with a few domestic operators Visit Greenland uses the global Adventure Travel Trade Association network to help promote the development of the adventure tourism industry in Greenland.

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