Greenland’s Polar Bear Sightseeing:

FAQs and Concession Rights

From March 2023, it will be possible to go polar bear sightseeing in Greenland. Paid tourism without catching polar bears – “polar bear sightseeing” – can be experienced in Greenland with a licensed private person or accompanied by a tourist company with a concession permit based in Greenland. Here you can read the information about the polar bear sightseeing and concession rights, prepared according to the questions that are regularly asked.

It is forbidden to offer polar bear sightseeing without a permit.

  • You can only get permission to carry out paid tourism if you are a resident – registered in the population register in Greenland and have been paid taxes in Greenland for 2 years. See here (in Danish)
  • Private individuals can apply for permission to hold polar bear sightseeing throughout Greenland. However, the applicant must indicate where in Greenland the activity will take place.
  • Private limited companies or joint-stock companies based in Greenland and sole proprietorships or partnerships with a registered address in Greenland, who also have been fully liable for taxes in Greenland for minimum 2 years can apply for a concession permit if a municipality has allocated an area for this activity.
  • If international cruise ships want to go on polar bear sightseeing, this must be done in cooperation with a local operator with a permit or an enterprise/a company with a concession permit. (Currently, there is no concession holders with paid tourism without catching polar bear).
  • Polar bear sightseeing must be offered as a product by a private person or company. This means that, for example, you cannot offer paid tourism without catching, in the context of paid hunting and general hunting bears.
  • Airplanes, helicopter, and motor vehicles, including snowmobile and ATVs, as well as drones may not be used during paid tourism.
  • Paid tourism is a collective term for activities within tourism activities associated with polar bears where hunting is not offered.

A tourism concession is an agreement, between a public authority and a company, that gives the company the exclusive right to a specific activity in a given area.

  • The tourism concessions can have a varied validity. A tourism concession can be granted between 5-20 years, with a possibility for extension if a tourism concession expires.
  • Tourism concession holders must once a year send a report to Naalakkersuisut regarding activities covered by this tourism concession.

It is possible to apply for a tourism concession for paid tourism without catching polar bears, if the municipality has allocated an area for this activity.

  • A tourism concession can be transferred to another firm/company, if Naalakkersuisut approves this. A tourism concession is offered to the public under ‘Tourism Concession Law’. See here (in Danish)
  • The proceedings are carried out by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Business and Trade.

No. The polar bears in Southeast Greenland are strictly protected and cannot be caught. This does not apply for problem-polar bears, that have been repeatedly threatened. See the legislation on the protection of polar bears here (in Danish).

The cruise ships (accompanied with a local operator with a permit) should keep away from the polar bears on a minimum of 200 meters. It is not allowed to go polar bear sightseeing without a permit.

As a resident, you can apply for a permit by completing an application and send it to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Business and Trade. Find further information and application form here: (in Danish)

For more information, contact: