I really want to form a good relationship with all the stakeholders in the industry, so I will listen to everyone with whatever inputs they have.
VG: What are Greenland’s strengths as a tourism destination?
How will you work to ensure they continue?
Julia: In general, we have a fantastic culture and nature which can be experienced in different ways and thus, appeal to many types of travellers. There is also great diversity, both within each region and across regions.
Each region has many sides to it, so it can attract many traveller types simultaneously.
Each region has many sides to it, so it can attract many traveller types simultaneously. Each region also has its own unique selling points in comparison to the others. In that way, travellers can easily come back for a repeat trip and have a totally new experience. I would like to see the development of more visitor centers in the regions – like the coming Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat – to tell what the unique elements of each individual region are.
VG: What are Greenland’s weaknesses as a tourism destination?
How will you work to improve them?
Julia: Accessibility is a primary one. We need to cooperate to make it easier to get to Greenland, in terms of both price and flight frequency. The development of more airports and longer runways is a sure way to increase this access. Seasonality is another weakness.
We need to cooperate to make it easier to get to Greenland, in terms of both price and flight frequency.
We need to brainstorm about the unique elements of the winter season and make it more attractive to take a winter holiday in Greenland. What I would like to do is, all together, brainstorm about what types of tourists we want to focus on. It is clear we want to avoid mass tourism, so we need to decide where the limit lies.
VG: How do you see the various stakeholders’
roles in the tourism industry?
Julia: I think the relationship between Visit Greenland and the Government of Greenland as well as the Department for Industry, Labour, Trade and Energy (under which tourism falls) is important. We need to have a good dialogue with the politicians as it is they who set the framework in which tourism can develop, for example regarding infrastructure projects.
At the same time, I think the regional offices themselves are an important link to brand and sell the region as well as to represent all the local operators in a cohesive way. The international agents also play an important role in the industry as it is they who have close contact with the tourists out there in the different markets; not to mention, they buy products from the local operators.
VG: ‘Sustainable’ is a buzzword in the tourism industry worldwide.
How does it figure in to your work?
Julia: I will focus on ensuring sustainable and responsible travel. Above all, travel must protect the environment, it must support and benefit the local culture, and it must be economically viable, too. It is important to me to think about what type of effect we want tourism to have in Greenland.
The visibility created by UNESCO World Heritage status is large, so it is important to manage this visibility in a sustainable way so that the sites are protected and preserved.
VG: For example, several areas in South Greenland have recently received UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and there is potentially coming at least one more site elsewhere the country.
How can we take advantage of this in a sustainable way?
Julia: The visibility created by UNESCO World Heritage status is large, so it is important to manage this visibility in a sustainable way so that the sites are protected and preserved. The regional offices have a big task to ensure this protection as well as inform about the sites – not only on the ground through, for example, visitor centers but also in the branding itself.
VG: What do you look forward to most in your new job?
Julia: I am really looking forward to traveling around to all the regions and talking with the individual operators. It is a lifetime goal of mine to do something good for my country, and it is the tourism branch I have chosen as the tool to do it. I look forward to contributing to the development of tourism in Greenland.
The future is so bright. There are already so many tendencies that show tourism is going in the right direction.
VG: How does the future of tourism in Greenland look?
Julia: The future is so bright. There are already so many tendencies that show tourism is going in the right direction. There is growth in the number of travellers coming here, and there is also growth in the number of entrepreneurs within the industry – more than ever before. It is clear that tourism is on the way to being central in Greenland.
Want to get in touch directly with Julia?
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct to +299 34 28 32