The biggest problem with tourism in Greenland is the price. A return flight from Reykjavik is over $1300, day trips average around $250 per person and accommodations are in that same range.Even the hostels are expensive ($60-75 per night) as are food and drink. The fallout is that the silence and beauty is only for those who can afford it, most of whom are white, old and rich, or WORs. While many of these people come across as adventurous and young at heart, there is a disheartening proprietorial sense, the 1% surveying the stunning ice-scapes as their exclusive right. All of which acts as a reminder for exactly why this planet is going to hell.
Although today’s tourists are well schooled on not leaving their trash behind, it certainly wasn’t the pattern of the past. Paul-Emile Victor led a number of scientific expeditions from the Eqi Glacier Polar Camp in 1947-51, during which he determined that Greenland was in fact composed of three separate islands, all hidden under the ice.Over the years, he and his colleagues left behind many reminders of their presence, including oil drums… sled tracks… other detritus…and of course the shed…now filled with graffiti of who has been there since.
80% of Greenland is covered by snow and ice. It is a mass so big that, if it were to melt, the oceans worldwide would rise seven meters, drowning many coastlines, while Greenland would actually rise. Ilulissat is on the west coast where many glaciers and ice flows meet the ocean, including the Ilulissat Ice Fjord and Eqi Glacier, both of which are major tourist attractions due to the melting ice. The Ilulissat Ice Fjord is densely packed with icebergs, moving gradually out to sea at a rate of 19 meters per day, producing 35 cubic kilometers of ice every year. It takes almost three hours to pass through the maze of ice by boat – a distance of 5 kilometers. The Eqi Glacier, which is retreating a rate of 15 meters per year, meets the ocean directly, with massive sheets and chunks of ice dramatically calving into the ocean several times every hour. It is a remarkable and sobering event to witness, the sound of which is reminiscent of approaching thunder or a massive door being slammed shut in an empty room.