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Annex 7. Country report autonomous areas

1. Domestic tourism in Faroe Islands

Data on domestic tourism in Greenland are limited since the Faroe Islands have not yet developed their Tourism Satellite Accounts. However, there is data available for the number of overnight stays, turnaround rate, and workforce.

1.1.   Domestic tourism in Faroe Islands during COVID-19

In terms of the domestic share of overnight stays in the Faroe Islands, there were 30 628 domestic overnight stays in the Faroe Islands in 2019, accounting for approximately 18 per cent of the total number of overnight stays in 2019. The number of domestic visitors staying overnight in commercial establishments increased between 2019 and 2020. The number of overnight stays was 33 496, accounting for a higher share than in 2019 of 35 per cent. There was a steep increase in domestic tourism in 2021, where the number of overnight stays amounted to 57 454, or 33 per cent of the total number of overnight stays.
Being a small island region, intra-regional travel for day trips is easily undertaken. According to the interviewee, domestic same-day visitors have great economic importance, along with summer house rentals.
The government took measures to increase domestic tourism during the pandemic. One example was that the development department launched a new website where they created holiday packages for domestic tourists. There were around 30 packages, and they aimed to be an eye-opener for Faroe Islanders about what is available in the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands had international travel restrictions from March 2020 until March 2022. The restrictions varied from screening arrivals, quarantine for some or all regions, banning arrivals from some regions, a ban on all regions, to a total border closure. The Faroe Islands only had a short period at the beginning of the pandemic when all regions were banned, or a total border closure was enforced. As of 1 March 2022, all COVID-19-related restrictions were removed by the Faroese Government.

1.2.   Preferences of domestic tourists and the future of domestic tourism in Faroe Islands

Concerning the preferences of domestic tourists in the Faroe Islands, recreational activities and food tourism were highlighted by the interviewee as general trends. The interest in nature-based tourism and food tourism has increased among domestic tourists over the years, partly as a consequence of the growth in international tourism over the past 10 years where these types of preferences have been common for a long time. In terms of spending, the interviewee believes that domestic tourists probably consume more services than international tourists since they do not have to spend as much on transportation.
In terms of the future outlook regarding domestic tourism in the Faroe Islands, the interviewee sees future potential in domestic tourism as a consequence of price shocks and climate change. On the other hand, he emphasises that there will probably always be a demand to go to other countries among the Faroe Islanders because of the warmer weather abroad.

1.3.   Domestic tourism governance in Faroe Islands

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade oversees tourism in the Faroe Islands. In specific issues, there are collaborations with other ministries, such as the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment. In certain matters, such as transportation and aviation, the tourism sector falls under Danish regulations. At the local level, regional tourist agencies are responsible for promoting growth in the tourism industry. Visit Faroe Islands Tourist Board, through its subsidiary Visit Faroe Island, oversees the development of the travel industry in the Faroe Islands. In 2018, a new development department was set up and integrated within Visit Faroe Island. The main task of this department is to better organise the tourism industry in the Faroe Islands. In addition, the development department oversees national campaigns, such as a webpage that was set up to highlight new travel packages for domestic tourists specifically. The North Atlantic Tourism Association is also a stakeholder.

2. Domestic tourism in Greenland

There is limited data on domestic tourism in Greenland. Greenland has not yet developed their Tourism Satellite Accounts.
Karlsdóttir & Gassen 2021.
Statistics for domestic tourism that are available concern the number of rented rooms, number of overnight stays, occupancy rate, capacity, and number of guests.
Greenland Tourism Statistics 2022.

2.1.   Domestic tourism in Greenland during COVID-19

There were fewer domestic tourists in Greenland during the pandemic, but the decrease only seems to be temporary. In 2019, the domestic share of overnight stays in paid accommodations was 64 per cent. In 2020, the domestic share was 79 per cent, and in 2021, the share was 63 per cent. Even though the domestic share of overnight stays increased in 2020, the total number of overnight stays decreased from 264 830 in 2019 to 174 814 in 2020. There was an increase of 56 736 domestic overnight stays between 2020 and 2021, which is a 20 per cent increase.
StatBank Greenland 2022.
In May of 2022, Visit Greenland was able to confirm that the number of total overnight stays will match or surpass the number in 2019.
Visit Greenland 2022.
There are regional differences in the domestic number of overnight stays in Greenland. The region with the highest domestic number of overnight stays in 2021 was the Capital Region (51 915 overnight stays). The region with the lowest domestic (and overall) number of overnight stays in 2021 was East Greenland (603 domestic overnight stays). Looking at the changes from 2020 to 2021, the greatest increase in domestic overnight stays was in South Greenland, where there was a 30 per cent increase in domestic overnight stays.
Visit Greenland 2022.
To bolster domestic tourism during the pandemic, Greenland’s government implemented tourism packages and mobility initiatives.
Quinn 2020.
Greenland had international travel restrictions from March 2020 until May 2022. The restrictions varied from screening arrivals, quarantine for some or all regions, banning arrivals from some regions, a ban on all regions, or a total border closure. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as from December 2020 to June 2021, Greenland banned all regions or had a total border closure. In the later stages of the pandemic, Greenland switched to screening arrivals. In May 2022, Greenland lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions.

2.2.   Preferences of domestic tourists and the future of domestic tourism in Greenland

Regarding the preferences of domestic tourists in Greenland, it is plausible to believe that they differ from the preferences of international tourists coming to Greenland. For example, it is hard to sell the local Arctic way of living to Greenlanders, since they already know about the local culture of Greenland. With domestic tourists demonstrating relatively less interest in the local culture and history, marketing efforts targeting domestic tourists have focused more on promoting national parks, ice caps, fjords, and UNESCO world heritage sites in Greenland.

2.3.   Domestic tourism governance in Greenland

The Ministry of Industry and Energy oversees the tourism sector in Greenland. Greenland’s tourism sector is also under some Danish regulations, concerning, e.g., transportation and aviation. The task of marketing Greenland as a tourism destination is under the purview of Visit Greenland, which is a national tourist board and government-owned organisation. Visit Greenland also serves as a national tourism resource centre of Greenland. The North Atlantic Tourism Association is another relevant organisation for Greenlandic tourism, with its mission of promoting tourism in the West Nordic nations of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.

3. Domestic tourism in Åland Islands

Åland has a limited amount of data available on the domestic tourism of Åland residents. The autonomous island region is part of the TSAs of Finland, but in these statistics, domestic tourism also includes tourists from mainland Finland. There is some aggregated data about domestic overnights and the general importance of its tourism sector, available through Statistics Åland.
Statistics Åland, n.d.
Tourism is Åland's biggest export industry. An interviewee described it to be just as important for Åland as it is for Spain and the Mediterranean countries. The tourism industry and the whole economy in Åland is very dependent on inbound tourism – especially tourists from Finland and Sweden. According to an interviewee, Ålanders usually say locally that they have no internal tourism. With that said, they do understand that it´s a bit wrong because it's clear that it exists, but it's incredibly small compared to inbound tourism.
Since Åland is a small destination, domestic tourism is more based on experience than travelling far away from one’s usual surroundings. Åland has, e.g., fantastic guesthouses that are new and nice, which is something domestic tourists might want to try in the neighboring municipality, even though the journey is only 10 km. Definition of domestic tourism that would include requirement of “traveling over 50 km” is a bit difficult in the context of Åland.

3.1.   Domestic tourism in Åland during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, different measures were targeted at Ålanders, and domestic tourists started to move more and use the tourism services. Domestic tourism campaigns during the pandemic focused on theme: You seek the experience, and you seek for the archipelago.
According to an interviewee, Åland won the European Excellence Award for its domestic tourism campaigns last year. Measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic managed to create funding and to draw attention; above all, they managed to position the “domestic destination” higher on the minds of Ålanders. Campaigns found something that made Åland a little different from other destinations. Additionally, the drive for domestic tourism has been maintained to a high degree even after the pandemic.
An interviewee gave four main focus points on how the tourism sector in Åland succeeded during and after the COVID-19 pandemic:
  1. Centralised but flexible public governance of the efforts to answer the crisis by increasing domestic tourism.
    1. Åland succeeded at the provincial government level. They ensured that there are funds in the budget, along with quick decisions to ensure that there is an opportunity to run campaigns to raise awareness and create awareness.
  2. Visit Åland was given free rein to do what it could with the additional budget to increase tourism.
    Utilising campaigns to spread the word and idea of experiencing Åland, “Hemestra on Åland.”
    1. Companies realised the potential and understood the collaboration effect with Visit Åland. A common promotion page was built, including information in Finnish. This was especially important for small companies that were not capable of making these types of developing and marketing efforts by themselves
    2. "Hygiene campaign" - to create a feeling that it is safe to move about, go to a restaurant, and stay at a B&B, even if it is only on Åland. The campaign collected information about industries and made signs with the instructions "this is how you should behave; this is what you should do," so that the companies could post the information for the customer. The campaign was called "Together for Åland."
  3. Information 
    1. How to go around information was translated to Swedish. A collaboration between companies, stakeholders, and authorities was built. Helping each other had a big effect on getting Ålanders to move around, though the internal restrictions were not as tight as in mainland Finland, which also helped.
  4. Destination development
    1. Domestic tourists in Åland went outdoors frequently. By updating the hiking trails, destionations were able to improve the experience.
    2. Also, Visit Åland and the stakeholders succeeded in creating new digital solutions, i.e., getting information out in a different way that met customer needs and made people move more.

3.2.   Preferences of domestic tourists and the future of domestic tourism in Åland

For the preferences of domestic tourists, one should compare Åland to more rural areas and smaller places in mainland Finland or Sweden. In Åland, people don´t go to theaters and restaurants as in mainland cities. Business travelers are the same as everywhere else; they consume restaurant services, especially in winter. Transportation issues are key for success, but otherwise, domestic tourism looks much like other rural destination.
Domestic tourism in Åland is extremely important for restaurants. They live on the people of Åland in winter. The selection of tourism services is not that big, but if there is something that Ålanders use more than restaurants, it is hiking trails and paths. A frisbee golf project has also started.
The future of domestic tourism
According to the interviewee, the pandemic had little impact on the number of tourism businesses. Tourism companies reacted and cut back on the business in order to save on costs. Profitability has gone down, and the companies they don't have the same resources to make investments. Companies are lagging behind compared to pre-pandemic times, but not on the verge of bankruptcy. Åland tourism industry is declining a little, but according to the interview this is mainly related to “generation changes”.
During the summers, domestic tourism draws less internal attention. The summers are the high season for inbound tourism when Swedes and mainland Finns pour into Åland. Additionally, Ålanders are used to their own space and hence use less services when they are crowded by inbound tourists.
Still, the small size of the area creates a situation where tourism organisations need to stick together. Hence, the residents are considered as a very important target group, regardless of how big or small the internal tourism is. According to the interviewee, Åland will capitalize on this and will certainly work more for this especially after COVID-19 pandemic made domestic tourism more visible. Additionally, the tourism sector actors consider domestic tourists to be Åland's ambassadors when they travel outside the island, and this makes it important to continue working with domestic tourists.  
"Togetherness" - Does it work?
According to the interviewee, tourism companies are mainly very small, and they find it difficult to do things alone. They don't have time to develop programmes, services, and products when they are stuck in everyday life. For them, Visit Åland has a very important role. Exactly what will be done in the future is not known, but the keyword is the “togetherness”.
The pandemic served as a catalyst for cooperation in the tourism sector and created the idea of “togetherness”. The tourism industry has become much more flexible, and there is more collaboration between companies and public sector actors. The meaning of collaboration has changed due to the pandemic. The lesson learned was that you can do more together. This applies to all plans, politicians, officials, companies, stakeholders, and the tourism industry.
During the pandemic, partner networks were created, where the stakeholder in the tourism industry has changed the ways of doing business. The networks are for sharing knowledge and creating business ideas together.  Everyone can participate and hop onboard whenever they want to, and it is up to the companies if they want to participate.
Togetherness is about cooperation in these networks built around the same interests (boat tourism, golf, sport fishing, and so on). According to the interview, it has been realised that the networks work best when they are industry-driven, as they make relevant decisions for the tourism companies and for what is close to them. All hard questions come up, and there is a joint effort to solve them.
The companies are responsible for running the networks, and they have to learn to agree and compromise on issues. When they have a plan, they will also most likely get funding, usually from provincial government and administered through Visit Åland. The partner network idea has led to a situation where more and more companies have realised the benefits, and at the moment, the networks go beyond in popularity what Visit Åland can manage.

3.3.   Domestic tourism governance in Åland

Visit Åland currently manages and coordinates the tourism activities and finances. It is financed by the province. The provincial government supports companies a lot, especially when one looks at the size of the companies. In fact, the Åland government supports tourism considerably because this industry would never come up with the sums needed to market tourism services with the width that is needed.  


Greenland Tourism Statistics. (2022). Statistics Greenland and Visit Greenland. Retrieved from: https://tourismstat.gl/
Karlsdottir, A. & Bogason, A. (2022). State of the Nordic region 2022. Nordregio. Retrieved from: https://pub.nordregio.org/snr22/#99109
Karlsdóttir, A. & Gassen, N., (2021). Regional Tourism Satellite Accounts for the Nordic countries. Nordregio. Retrieved from: http://pub.nordregio.org/r-2021-2-regional-tourism-satellite-accounts/?find=greenland
Quinn, E. (2020). Greenland adds new incentive to promote domestic tourism as international travel craters. Eye on the Arctic. Retrieved from: https://www.rcinet.ca/eye-on-the-arctic/2020/07/29/greenland-adds-new-incentive-to-promote-domestic-tourism-as-international-travel-craters/
Statistics Åland. (n.d). Tourism. Retrieved from. https://www.asub.ax/en/statistics/tourism
StatBank Greenland. (2022). Overnight stays by nationality, region, unit and time. Overnight stays by nationality, region, unit and time. StatBank Greenland. Retrieved from: Overnight stays by month, nationality, region, unit and time. PxWeb (stat.gl)
STATBANK. (2022). Overnight stay on hotel, hostel, guest-house by region and country of residence (2013-2022). Statistics Faroe Islands. Retrieved from: VV07020 Overnight stay on hotel, hostel, guest-house by region and country of residence (2013-2022). PxWeb (hagstova.fo)
Visit Greenland. (2022). Tourism Statistics report 2021 Greenland. Visit Greenland. Retrieved from https://tourismstat.gl/analyses/