Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters

The town of Ilulissat, Greenland on August 04, 2019. The new government mobility package is aimed at helping tourism businesses in communities like this one. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
With the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting Greenland’s tourism industry, the government has announced a new initiative aimed at bolstering domestic travel.

The mobility package came into effect Tuesday.

“It’s no secret that tourism is hard hit,” said Greenland’s Minister for Industry and Mineral Resources Jens-Frederik Nielsen in a news release.

“The Greenlandic goverment has already launched a number of aid packages, but we have assessed that more is needed. Therefore, I am glad that from today it will be possible to get a subsidy for travel between towns and villages. I hope that many will use this initiative to see places in our beautiful country that they would not otherwise see. The new initiative will thus both be able to provide great experiences for the population and at the same time help to support our local tourism businesses in a difficult time.”

Bolstering domestic tourism to make up for lack of international visitors

A tourism aid package, announced in June, encouraged hotels and tourism operators to offer COVID-19 discounts that businesses could then reclaim from the government.

The COVID-19 rebates for hotels run up to 500 Danish kroner (approximately $100 CDN).  And discounts for one tour experience per day run up to 300 Danish kroner (approximately $62 CDN). 

After feedback from the business community, the government upped the package on July 17 to include compensation for more than one trip, and to also allow those temporarily residing in Greenland for work to offer and then claim the COVID-19 discounts. 

International tourists across from the Eqi Glacier at Eqip Sermia, Greenland in July 2019. Greenland hopes that bolstering domestic tourism will help make up for the loss of revenue from international travellers because of COVID-19. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the new initiative will now allow tourism operators to offer COVID-19 discounts on internal routes between Greenland’s towns and villages.

“The corona crisis has more consequences than first assumed,” said a joint statement from members of the Greenlandic business community and workers’ representatives. “Feedback from the business community suggests that the tourism industry has been hit especially hard this summer. We’re therefore satisfied, in collaboration with the Greenlandic government, to organize this new initiative that can help support the tourist industry. ”

The tourism packages and new mobility initiative will be in effect until September 30.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Scrapped 2020 cruise season will cost communities in Nunavut, Canada almost $1 million, Eye On The Arctic

Finland: Finland joins other Nordic countries in virtual tourism due to pandemic, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland offers COVID-19 testing to international travellers starting June 15, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: All Russia’s North Pole cruises rescheduled to 2021, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sweden seen as major source of COVID-19 in Western Finland region, Yle News

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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