Following the success of site-specific guidelines in Svalbard, in 2014 AECO and Visit Greenland decided to conduct research to determine whether similar guidelines could work in Greenland. The resulting report concluded that a full-scale site guidelines project for Greenland was feasible, and that developing such guidelines for Greenland could strengthen the country as a cruise destination and encourage more sustainable and more informed use of the selected sites.
However, developing site-specific guidelines is a huge task and involves cooperation with many different partners, from the cruise industry, local authorities, operators and local communities to experts in geology, biology, archaeology, history and nature preservation. As a result, developing site guidelines is a costly process and requires a lot of funding.
Site-specific guidelines in Destination Arctic Circle
Destination Arctic Circle is the first region to embark on developing site-specific guidelines, and this is being done as part of its recent UNESCO designation (2018). In cooperation with partners including AECO, the Greenland National Museum, the UNESCO Site Management and Sisimiut Museum, DAC plans to use the Svalbard guidelines as inspiration, but to adapt them appropriately to Greenland.
The first site to get site-specific guidelines will be Nipisat Island, which is one of the 7 sub-sites that make up the DAC UNESCO site. Site assessment will begin this summer, with archaeologists starting to investigate the site, while other specialists will come in next year.
It is hoped that the guidelines for Nipisat Island will be published in October 2020, but this is a long process and a process which is totally new to Greenland, so this date is subject to change.
How does the future look for Greenland and site-specific guidelines?
After Nipisat Island, Destination Arctic Circle will turn to the other 6 UNESCO sub-sites, and begin developing site-specific guidelines for those.
We also hope that other regions in Greenland will begin to develop site guidelines in the future, in the interest of protecting Greenland’s unique nature and contributing to a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry in Greenland.