Today Ilulissat is a modern society. In recent years the city has experienced a substantial population increase. The population is approx. 5000 people, and it is hence the third largest city in Greenland. It is a centre of administration, education, fishing, and tourism.
In 2009 Greenland got self-government and thereby a greater independence of Denmark. However, the two countries still have close economical and political ties. In 2009 Ilulissat also became part of the new large municipality, Qaasuitsup, which covers the entire North Western part of Greenland.
Greenland Halibut, Shrimp, and Tourism
During recent years tourism has increased in Ilulissat and it is today the most popular tourist city in Greenland. The reason is primarily that it is located near the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord and only a few minutes’ walk from the edges of the World Heritage Area. Approx. 20.000 people visit the area every year.
Tourism and fishing for Greenland halibut and shrimp are still the most important trades in Ilulissat. The Greenland halibut is primarily caught with long-line from small boats near the iceberg bank. During winter the locals do long-line fishing from the ice on the Icefjord, which they reach by dog sledge.
A Future with Mineral Resources
As always during the thousands of years the area has been inhabited, the foundation of the city’s existence is still its closeness to the Icefjord and its resources. In the summer of 2010 the first test drillings for oil were made in the sea beyond the Disko Bay. The first results are promising and most likely more companies will begin to search for oil in the area in the years to come. Should a future oil production eventuate, it is very important to the Greenland society that it will not happen at the expense of nature.