The whole speech is available below.
The brand value of a sustainable Greenland
By Anne Nivíka Grødem, Acting Director of Visit Greenland
I would like to start by thanking Greenland Business for once again carrying out the important task of creating a platform for dialogue.
A platform that brings people together to talk about the visions we each have for the future, and to provide an opportunity to share perspectives with each other.
A new agenda for growth – what does it take – from vision to action. This is the headline of this year’s Future Greenland conference.
When we talk about growth, visions and actions, we must also talk about economic, social and environmental sustainability.
We do tend to focus our discussion on economic sustainability. This is important, and I did not come to challenge that.
Instead, I will use this speech to bring a different perspective to the conversation. A perspective that to a greater extent speaks into “væredygtighed”. “Væredygtighed” (a combination of at være – to be and bæredygtighed – sustainability) refers to the awareness behind our actions, and the processes that are rooted in what it means to BE – through the eyes of the community.
A perspective that is about how, together, we can create the tourism of the future in Greenland. A perspective that focuses on the development of tourism for the benefit of the whole of Greenland.
Because we are clearly facing an exciting future, with a great international focus on the Arctic and Greenland. New infrastructure in the form of new airports. A new national tourism strategy, and a new tourism law in the pipeline. All of these initiatives can contribute to creating a framework for growth in the field of tourism.
Throughout this process, as Director of Visit Greenland, I am concerned with how we ensure that tourism development creates growth throughout the country, and how we ensure that the local economy does not become too vulnerable in an uncertain world, which is characterised by the aftermath of a pandemic, the climate crisis and war.
Aaja Chemnitz Larsen said so nicely yesterday: “If we want to create growth – we must create a strong society.”
Therefore, we must focus on the fact that growth and development are rooted in our society. That goals and visions are require participation from everyone. That we have ownership over the vision of the future we are navigating towards, so that we achieve sustainable development that we can brand ourselves on.
At Visit Greenland, we have a goal for 2024, by which time we want to ensure that 80% of the population sees tourism development as value-creating.
Because if we really want sustainable growth and development, and if we want to move from visions to actions, then we must realise that, at the end of the day, societal development is enabled by human beings.
People who want something. People who have a common vision and who are motivated by it.
WE NEED TO TALK
This is why we must dare to listen. Listen to each other’s perspectives. Dare to get into the difficult conversations where we can feel that something is at stake. Because this is exactly where the driving force and sustainability are found.
We need to talk to each other, even to those we do not usually talk to. Talk about the future we envision. About the future we want.
And where is a better place to talk about the future than here – at a Future Greenland conference?
We’ve been talking about collaboration for almost two days now, so I want to test how cooperative you really are. Let me invite you on a little boat trip. An experiment.
We need to get out of our heads, and into our bodies. I know this might put some of you out of your comfort zone, but I hope you still have the courage to try. Feel free to close your eyes if it makes it easier.
Imagine for a second that the world is standing still. That, in the next few minutes, we can look into the future, completely free of charge. See what Future Greenland looks like – feels like – and how it is experienced.
Whether you are sitting in the crowd as a guest, or whether you are local to Greenland – hop on board. Imagine that you are sailing to somewhere in Greenland in 2025. You decide where. It can be the city you like the most, or a place you have always wanted to visit.
What do you see?
In what ways has tourism created value for the community where you are?
What is it like to be a guest? What is it like to be a host? In Greenland 2050.