Larger airports can boost tourism in Greenland

16 September 2015
Greenland can look forward to nearly tripling its annual number of visitors by constructing larger airports in Ilulissat and Nuuk, according to a Ramboll report.
Greenland seen from above

Greenland seen from above

The government of Greenland is seeking to enhance sustainable growth in a number of sectors. Tourism is one of them but poor accessibility and high prices on airplane tickets are obvious barriers to growth.

The Ministry of Industry, Labour and Trade has appointed Ramboll to develop a number of scenarios for optimised airport structures which will aim to enhance accessibility and lower the price levels for both tourists and society as a whole.

Potential boost in tourism

The report concludes that by expanding existing airports in Nuuk and Ilulisaat Greenland can boost its number of annual tourists by 45,000 – a significant increase from the 26,000 tourists expected in 2015.

The rather secluded and raw nature of Greenland has long been one of the country’s main attractions but at the same time also a hindrance for tourists to explore the country’s many gems.

The anticipated boom in tourism is due to the potentially lower costs of airplane tickets and easy accessibility to main cities and attractions resulting from the new airport capacity, as proposed in the report.

An airport the size of 24 football fields 

To gain these outcomes, it requires that Greenland builds two 2200 meters long runways in Ilulissat and Nuuk, equalling the size of 24 football fields. Another option suggested in the report is to extend the existing runways to 1199 meters, equalling the size of 13 football fields.

The latter proposal could reduce the costs of airplane tickets by 10% while the first proposal would result in a more substantial 20-30% reduction, making Greenland an attractive destination for tourists.

Final decision coming up this fall

The conclusions in Ramboll’s report are expected to be discussed by the government this fall when a plan for future tourism in Greenland will be presented.

The report is based on a forecast for tourism and passengers. Ramboll conducted a socio-economic analysis and a cash flow analysis for the new airport structures and a forecast of the demand for hotel capacity.

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