Developing industry and business is vital to the municipality's general development. Focus is to be on possibilities in the fishing industry enabling a better utilisation of live resources, and the tourism industry is to be unfolded in all corners of the municipality. Likewise, new ideas and business possibilities must be supported and promoted. Supplementary training will be a keyword in upgrading the local workforce to take on new challenges.
Qaasuitsup Municipality is in general behind with all major social investments in infrastructure, institutions and the like compared to other Greenlandic municipalities. Fishing and tourism are still the largest industries in the municipality.
The high seasonal variation in employment and a generally high unemployment rate constitute a serious threat and will undermine the municipality's economy in the long term. With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial to secure a positive development in business and industry towards a society with a healthier economy.
Possibilities and challenges vary from place to place in the municipality. Qaasuitsup Municipality's job will be to map the local resources in the municipality. And it will be necessary to define how to best utilise and locally maintain these resources in order for industry to be beneficial to everyone.
The principal industries in the municipality – fishery and the fishing industry – must be financially and environmentally sustainable industries. The requirements for utilisation of live resources are constantly developing and the industries are currently undergoing a modernisation and optimisation process.
The trend is ever larger, more effective and modern fishing boats, which puts traditional dinghy fishing under pressure. In spite of this, good and sufficient development possibilities for the fishing industry must be secured in both towns and settlements.
In general, we have to get much better at utilising our live resources and developing new quality products through a higher level of processing. Our raw materials – the Greenland halibut, shrimps etc. – are already known to be among the best in the world. We must have the courage to think big and outside the box.
We must continuously secure better physical conditions for industry throughout the municipality. For example, the physical development plan for the town of Ilulissat will zone new industrial areas, which can generate improved development opportunities while relieving the town centre.
Global warming and increasing worldwide climate awareness have played a part in putting north-western Greenland on the map, translating into new tourists and income for the municipality.
Tourism is an industry with vast development potential for north-western Greenland. Over a number of years, the area around Disko Bay has acquired solid experience and professionalism in tourism matters.
The new climate tourism is a good example of how climate change can become an advantage and generate new business possibilities.
Establishing the Ilulissat Isfjord Centre and expanding the airport would make it probable to see a vast positive development in the number of tourists visiting destinations in the municipality. Small-scale tourism projects should also be launched, such as urban revitalisation and improvement of access conditions, aiming to boost tourism throughout the municipality.
For the tourism industry to develop in the years to come, one of the challenges will be to spread out visitors more over the course of the year, and to draw them further to the north and to new destinations. Innovation and development of new concepts may be part of municipal strategies and policies for industrial development and tourism.
The production of ice and water is a great example of new products with promising development potential from a business perspective. Skiing at Qeqertarsuaq is another example of how we can utilise existing conditions and rethink our tourist activities.
Qaasuitsup Municipality wants to help stimulate its inhabitants' commitment and motivation to become business owners. We need more entrepreneurs that we have today. Therefore, the municipality must lead the way and drive a positive development where innovation and fresh thinking go hand in hand with knowledge sharing and cooperation between the different industry players – companies, politicians and the municipality.
Here, Qaasuitsup Municipality's key job is to communicate the needs of the industry to the local business community and set up conferences, supplementary training programmes and similar activities.
More emphasis should be put on education, upgrading and learning in order to locally benefit from the development – in the short and long term.