Contributed by David Casey
Credit: Danny Long
Grace J. Heindorf Nielsen is co-founder of Bmg-Greenland, a travel management company based in Nuuk, Greenland. Grace has worked over ten years in the Greenlandic tourism industry. She has a wealth of experience in planning tours, shore handling for cruise companies, conferences and general office management. Grace has extensive knowledge of the local community, its history, cultural values and people. She usually knows whom to contact to get something done. She is fluent in English, Danish and Swedish and speaks some German.
Grace has worked as the Greenland Production Manager for both seasons of Ice Cold Gold.
[Watch an all-new episode of Ice Cold Gold Thursday at 10PM E/P!]
1.) How did you come to Greenland as a child? Was there something that you fell in love with about Greenland that made you stay?
I was born in Helsinki, Finland. My mother was from the USA and my father from Denmark. We moved here when I was nine years old. My parents wanted to tell people about the Bahá’í Faith. I grew up here and Greenland is my home. Fresh air, clean water, wide-open spaces, friendly people and it never gets miserably hot.
2.) Tourism is steadily growing in Greenland. How did you get into the industry?
On a fluke, actually. A friend of mine was running a little tourist office in 1992 and when a cruise ship came to town she needed a guide who could speak English. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but decided if it was a disaster, at least I would never see those folks again. As it turned out, it went really well and I found a new calling.
3.) What are some of the misconceptions that people have of Greenland and Greenlanders?
I think for many visitors, we are a much different society than they expected. Some are floored by our level of sophistication and modernity. They are shocked we have cars. While others sometimes seem frustrated that not everything can run like clockwork. Most are not prepared for how much the weather impacts on our lives and plans.