The hottest summer travel destination is… the Arctic

Greenland isn’t built for easy travel, but tourists are flocking there anyway.


March 3, 2020

Greenland wants a piece of Iceland’s cold, hard tourism cash. 

Since 2015, Greenland’s neighbor to the south has witnessed a massive travel boom. But Iceland’s influx of tourists has pushed up the prices of hotels and flights there.

That means Greenland, which has recently made the news mostly for embarrassing headlines about a US effort to buy it, has an opportunity to rebrand — and capitalize.

If tourists are willing to visit a place called Iceland, the island figures, surely they’d be thrilled to parachute into Greenland. 

Greenland is renovating a pair of airports to bring direct flights from the US and Europe for the first time. And travelers’ hunger to visit a giant, melting ice cap may be growing: Last year, 60+k tourists moseyed over to the remote island — close to 2x the number of visitors it hosted 3 years ago. 

Hope you enjoy ice beds!

Greenland is not exactly built for ease of travel. There are only ~50 Airbnbs, even fewer hotels, and no major roads. 

Only 1 in 20 residents owns a car. To traverse the icy expanse, tourists usually drop vast sums of money on helicopter flights.

That hasn’t stopped hardy travelers

According to CNBC, the Nordic-focused travel agency 50 Degrees North has witnessed a 400% rise in bookings. Some of that frenzy may trace back to President Trump. 

After the US floated the idea of buying Greenland last year, travel agencies reported a surge in Greenland-themed search traffic.

Chillingly, Greenland’s tourist push is arriving right as the island itself shrinks. Its major ice sheet has lost 3.8T tons since 1992. 

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