The news that Nuuk, as the first capital city in the world, has been certified as a sustainable tourist destination by EarthCheck is a source of joy in the tourism industry.
CEO of Nuuk Water Taxi, Anders Lykke Laursen, who has been a volunteer in the Green Team working group that has helped secure the certification, has no doubt that the title will have great significance for the whole country:
“The title of sustainable capital can help support the fantastic development that has taken place throughout Greenland regarding tourism and our work to promote our destination. I actually see it as a step for Greenland as a whole that we are now pioneers in sustainability,” he says.
Visit Greenland, which has also been represented in the Green Team, hopes that Nuuk’s distinguished certification can inspire other towns in Greenland:
“There’s an intense focus on sustainable tourism worldwide, and it’s something agents and tourists actively choose. That’s why it’s important for our destination brand that we are at the front of that train. At Visit Greenland, we want to make sustainability more accessible to our regions and players, so we have put sustainability at the very top of our strategy,” says Visit Greenland’s CEO, Hjörtur Smárason.
GREAT INTEREST IN SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
With the market and interest in sustainable tourism currently on the rise, Nuuk’s EarthCheck certification could be a crucial step in bringing more tourists to the country:
“On our tours, sustainability is often the topic of conversation, and it’s clear that guests appreciate that they are helping to support the development and local people. So, sustainability is definitely something that interests our guests,” says Thorlak Skifte Nielsen, co-founder and guide at Two Ravens.
Anders Lykke Laursen has also noticed the tremendous interest in sustainable tourism. Therefore, sustainability is also thought into Nuuk Water Taxi’s working day and workflows:
“I see a growing interest in sustainability among our customers. Even some foreign agents won’t sail with us unless we prove that we don’t use plastic cutlery and plates on board, for example. So, all that plastic is gone, and instead, we use biodegradable mugs and teaspoons made from recycled wood,” he says.
A LEARNING PROCESS
At Sermersooq Business, which has been responsible for the project and the collection of all data underlying the certification, they are not only proud of obtaining the prestigious certification, but also the road to it has been instructive, says Project Manager Susanne Bisgaard. She hopes other towns will follow suit:
“With certification, we want to show that sustainability is for everyone and with everyone. We’ve been a solid team coming together to achieve this certification, and it has brought us together to work specifically towards a common goal. In this way, the process has given us a lot, and we would therefore definitely encourage other destinations to put together a team and look into their sustainability and maybe even get EarthCheck certified,” says Susanne Bisgaard, Project Manager at Sermersooq Business.
Human, social, economic and environmental sustainability
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