Challenging Tourism Landscapes of Southwest Greenland: Identifying Social and Cultural Capital for Sustainable Tourism Development

Hannu I. Heikkinen, Lill Rastad Bjørst and Albina Pashkevich

Abstract

In this article, we identify and discuss the possibilities, limitations, and challenges of sustainable tourism development in Southwest Greenland through a consideration of dimensions of social and cultural capital. We present our findings concerning the current context-specific promises and problems of tourism development and then discuss suggestions to improve local sustainability. Our argument is that the diverse natural, cultural, and political histories of this area offer a range of resources, here conceptualized as dimensions of capital, for multiple smaller, decentralized, and interconnected economic activities that can together contribute to developing tourism. However, such activities in the Greenlandic context also face particular, interdependent challenges. We suggest that the development of a series of disparate but integrated attractions might offer numerous opportunities but that the concomitant challenges necessitate concerted efforts by public authorities to support targeted educational programs and communication infrastructure developments and improve the foundations for decentralized network economies.

  • Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities (REXSAC)—A Nordic Centre of Excellence, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden

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