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Globally, adventure tourism remains a relatively small player in the tourism industry. However, given that Greenland is such an obvious choice of destination for adventure tourism, it is interesting that the adventure segment is enjoying rapid growth.

The industry is also helping to raise awareness of sustainability, the need to support local communities and promote social responsibility. These values help to secure the future of the sector.

In this article, we have compiled a number of key facts on tourism. We conclude by taking a close look at the American market which illustrates how the general growth in adventure tourism relates to Greenland.

Global figures for tourism and the adventure industry

-       Tourism accounts for 30% of all services and 1 in 11 jobs in the global economy.

-       In 2010, the global value for the adventure market amounted to more than DKK 500 billion. By 2013, this figure had tripled to more than DKK 1,500 billion.

-       The growth in turnover comes from an increase in the number of adventure tourists and an overall increase in the amount of money spent per holiday.

-       42% of all tourists participate in one or a range of adventure activities in the course of their holiday.

-       69% of all adventure tourists come from Europe, North America and South America.

Source: UNWTOs “Global Report on Adventure Tourism” 2014.

42% of all tourists participate in one or a range of adventure activities.

In mass tourism, approximately 80% of the revenue from a trip goes to airlines, hotels and other international companies. In contrast, in adventure tourism, 70-80% of the revenue goes to local communities.

Demographics in adventure tourism

-       In 2014, 53% of all adventure tourists were women and 47% were men.

-       In 2014, 37% of adventure tourists spent four years or more in tertiary education.

-       More than 11% had a professional qualification.

-       The average income for adventure tourists is approximately DKK 275,000.

-       A small proportion travel alone. 21% travel with friends, 37% travel with a spouse and 30% travel with their families including children.

Source: UNWTOs “Global Report on Adventure Tourism” 2014.

Consumption trends – tourism with a local impact

-       When we split adventure tourism into “hard” and “soft” categories, a pattern emerges in which tourists in the soft category (e.g. non-extreme activities, cultural activities, community involvement and guided tours in nature) spend about DKK 5,000 per holiday - excluding travel costs. This figure is a global average and does not reflect the amount spent on trips in Greenland where the economy is different and spending i higher per person.

-       In comparison, on a global level, non-adventure tourists spend about DKK 3,500 per person per holiday (excluding travel costs). This is about 40% less than the amount spent by adventure tourists who also spend more money in local communities where the economic impact is more tangible.

-       More extreme adventure tourists only spend about DKK 2,750 per trip (excluding travel costs), but spend significantly more money on gear and equipment needed for their holiday.

-       In mass tourism, approximately 80% of the revenue from a trip goes to airlines, hotels and other international companies. In contrast, in adventure tourism, 70-80% of the revenue goes to local communities.
65.5% of total travel expenditure per adventure tourist remains in the destinations or destination the tourist has visited.

Sources: UNWTOs “Global Report on Adventure Tourism” 2014 and ATTA’s and GWU’s “Adventure Tourism Market Report” 2010

Case study: the American market
As a result of Visit Greenland’s networking in Adventure Travel Association and a number of visits we have made to North America, we can see a trend in terms of the North American market playing a key role in the growth of adventure tourism in Greenland in the coming years.

24% of all travellers into and out of the United States identify themselves as adventure travellers. American soft adventure travellers are clearly the group that accounts for the increase in the global consumption average, with a consumption of approximately EUR 5,500 per tourist (excluding travel costs).

American interest in Greenland is constantly increasing. On greenland.com alone, American tourists account for 25% of all visitors. Furthermore, accessibility from North America to Iceland is growing every year. This means that there are more departures from Iceland to the USA and more connections between Iceland and Greenland.

Meanwhile, US tour operators operating in the Icelandic and Greenlandic markets are very committed to the idea that values such as responsibility, sustainability, community engagement and authenticity are part and parcel of the tourist experience in these travel destinations.

This shows that all stakeholders in Greenland who are interested in creating growth should think actively about how North America can become part of their company's growth strategy.
They can either enter into partnerships with American and Icelandic companies, or do this by themselves. For no matter what, there is real potential for growth by developing in a way that is in tune with these partners and their market needs.

All stakeholders in Greenland who are interested in creating growth should think actively about how North America can become part of their company's growth strategy.

READ THE OTHER STORIES IN THE ADVENTURE SERIES ABOUT 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 - 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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