Embracing The Cold And Dark: Why You Should Visit Greenland, Even In Winter
Article Published by: Forbes.com
Greenland is an unusual choice of travel destination, and for a growing group of people around the world, that’s part of what makes it appealing. Most people have only ever seen Greenland (if they’re lucky) from an airplane flying between Europe and the Americas. With a population of just 56,000 and a dramatic landscape of ice, mountains – and yes, some green patches too – it’s a place that evokes adventure, and mystery.
That’s partly because Greenland, which happens to be the world’s largest island, is difficult to access – there’s one flight from Copenhagen a few times a week, plus a handful of other flights to Reykjavik depending on the time of year. And no matter where you start from, flights are expensive. Once on the island there are few roads, so transport options include flight (often by helicopter), boat or even dogsled. Now there’s a plan to build three new airports in Greenland by 2023, which will likely open up many new ways of getting to Greenland and hopefully bring prices down as well. That’s great news for Greenland as it looks to boost its tourism industry.
In the meantime, the more intrepid among us might want to consider a visit before all that happens. Many might balk at the thought of seeing this icy land in winter, when it’s often dark and can get very cold. But there are advantages. Most of the tourists to Greenland visit in summer, so you’ll likely have the place to yourself. It’s perfect for what’s becoming known as dark sky tourism. And if you like winter sports, especially the more adventurous variety, there’s lots to do: dog sledding tours, snowshoeing, skiing and more. One great option: a stay at Icecamp Greenland, in the Sermilik Fjord, where you can see whales, glaciers and icebergs and the northern lights.
The people at Visit Greenland are hard at work marketing the country to new visitors, especially beyond the peak summer season. “Winter tourism is so interesting for us,” said Julia Pars, director of Visit Greenland, explaining that this is a relatively untapped market with huge potential. “Greenland is a very exotic and exclusive destination, but perhaps our biggest challenge is to make it more visible internationally, to put Greenland in the minds of people as a possible tourism destination.”
As the world turns its gaze toward the Arctic, especially in light of climate change, places like Greenland are likely to be more and more in the public consciousness. And that will continue to make it a more interesting place. “People around the world are looking to the Arctic countries in general,” said Julia Pars. “And what we find in Greenland are lots of contrasts between elements of the past and this new, modern Arctic society we have. So we look very much forward to making Greenland more accessible for tourists.”
About Jaime Bonetti Zeller
Jaime Bonetti Zeller is an investment professional and entrepreneur with businesses in multiple industries. He is president of Servicios Consulares Eurodom, the local partner in the Caribbean region for VFS Global, a leader global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. Jaime Bonetti Zeller also started the company Sofratesa de Panama inc., an organization in the engineering services industry located in Panama City.