Greenland tourism sees boost from environmental travellers
Posted on Wednesday 25 April 2012
in Travel, Copenhagen
By Sophia Choice
Environmental travel trends can range anywhere from luxury eco lodges to green adventure tours through wild jungles. Kiwis looking for an alternative holiday may want to take a trip to Greenland, where the glacial fields are facing a daunting transformation. The earth's warming climate has led documentary filmmakers and environmentalists to focus their attention on the world's northern regions such as Canada and Greenland. Now more than ever, travellers are setting their sights on catching a glimpse of the ice before it disappears forever.
More than 80 percent of Greenland is covered by a polar ice cap that is melting at astonishing rates. Although many of the nation's tourists arrive after taking flights to Copenhagen (the country is a Danish territory), international travellers have a newfound interest in the sparsely populated island.
In an interview with CNN News, Greenland Tourism and Business Council senior consultant Anders la Cour Vahl discussed the current travel trends and how they have affected the nation's economy.
"Our tourism [industry] is still very small," he told the news source. "But we've seen quite an increase in cruise tourism and an incremental increase in land-based visitors. You can see how glaciers have been retreating … Actually being there and being a witness to what is happening to our environment, that has great appeal."
Two towns in Greenland were featured in a book published by Danish environmental group Co+Life titled, "100 Places to Go Before they Disappear," because of their proximity to some of the largest ice caps outside of Antarctica. The communities of Ilulissat and Zackenberg have rarely seen much traffic from international travellers, but have recently become front-row seats for those wishing to witness geological evolution in action. Zackenberg houses an ecosystem research centre where climate change researchers like Keya Chatterjee of the World Wildlife Fund have been able to study the effects of global warming.
"Greenland has been a major concern because there is a lot of ice sitting on land, and it's melting a lot faster than we thought it was going to," she told the news source. "It's a big unknown in the system."
Throughout the year, Greenland is a natural wonder from its coast to the inland ice caps, and Kiwis who have managed to visit have been treated to wondrous sights.
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