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 Assets of the adventure tourism industry

Natural resources and cultural heritage are key assets for adventure tourism. However, one of the most important tools for creating and enhancing value are the human resources in the company – namely the guides and other staff.

People’s commitment to delivering quality service enhances the appeal of adventure-based tourism. For tour operators, people are at the core of the quality of the experiences on offer.

Guides always have close contact with clients on a tour. Expertise in tour guiding, communication skills and responsibility for safety are key assets that all tour operators need to develop.

From a business perspective, guides also contribute in terms of setting a company’s products and services apart from those of other competitors on the market. They do this by offering personal impressions that give unique value to tourists.

 

 

 Qualities for tour guides and the responsibility for training

Guides have to deal with a range of technical, practical and social challenges. In adventure tourism, a guide has to deal with issues relating to safety and navigation, cultural communication, social relationships and group dynamics.

In other words, guides are a specialised resource. The best form of training they can get is based in the areas of experience they can expect to encounter in work situations. There will always be a need for guides with a broader range of training for less specialised roles. However, as soon as kayaking, trophy hunting, skiing, climbing, glacier hiking, wildlife watching, photography and other outdoor activities come into the picture, there will be an increased demand for more specialised training and specific types of expertise.

The debate on whether the Greenlandic government, Visit Greenland or other national bodies should be responsible for training tour guides is one that has been going on for years. However, since expertise in tour guiding is best taught in business settings, national bodies are best placed to provide a support role rather than one that offers specialised training.

In adventure tourism, a guide has to deal with issues relating to safety and navigation, cultural communication, social relationships and group dynamics.

New Zealand has developed a checklist that addresses many of the issues relating to resource development in an adventure-based company.

Resource challenges in Greenland

New Zealand has developed a checklist that addresses many of the issues relating to resource development in an adventure-based company:

  • Does the company have one individual or a number of individuals who are responsible for staff development?

  • Has the company ensured that staff skills match and meet current standards in the industry?
  • Does the company work with others in monitoring and developing staff to ensure that the company complies with current industry standards?

  • Is there a culture in the company that encourages staff to ask questions and address key challenges in a constructive way?

  • Does the company have an organised induction and training programme for new guides, enabling them to tackle specialised work?

  • Do all staff understand the company’s core philosophy and can they put this into practice when dealing with the clientele?

  • Are all staff aware of the minimum standards that the company sets for tour guiding?

  • Does the company have a procedure to ensure that all staff meet the minimum requirements?

In the best case scenario, all adventure tour guides in Greenland would, insofar as this is possible, have close cultural ties with their local area. This strengthens the bond between destination, the quality of service that guides are able to offer and the adventure tourists who often assess their experiences partly on the basis of whether their guides are from the local area.

However, labour market conditions in Greenland mean that there are not enough specialised guides in the country to fill all the positions in the adventure-based tourist industry.

Visitors set a high premium on safety and quality. In many instances, safety issues, for example, take precedence over a guide’s ethnic origin. Operators must therefore sometimes look for tour guides from abroad to ensure that they meet the necessary safety requirements and to ensure that they have the appropriate professional expertise.

Source:  UNWTOs “Global Report on Adventure Tourism” 2014 & AdventureEDU “AdventureEDU’s Approach to Guide Training”

In the best case scenario, all adventure tour guides in Greenland would, insofar as this is possible, have close cultural ties with their local area.

READ THE OTHER STORIES ABOUT ADVENTURE TRAVEL IN GREENLAND

 

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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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