When a cruise ship arrives in a village with only a few hundred inhabitants, things do not always go smoothly. Five travel organizations have therefore joined forces and developed guidelines for tourists visiting settlements in the Arctic region.
In addition to general advice on Arctic dos and don’ts, the travel organizations behind the project have also developed a template that can be used by towns and villages that want to create their own, tailor-made guidelines adapted to local conditions.
The project participants include AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators), Visit Greenland, Cruise Iceland, Visit Svalbard and Nordnorsk Reiseliv.
The guidelines, which were introduced late April, also discuss everything from cultural characteristics to advice on which souvenirs to buy.
Positive ripple effects
Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of the AECO, hopes that both the guidelines and the guideline template will be a resource for all who want tourism in the High North to lead to positive repercussions.
- We work to promote sustainable tourism in the Arctic, and social and cultural meetings between visitors and locals are an important part of the overall emphasis. We know that many local communities in the north, both in Norway and in the rest of the Arctic, appreciate the economic opportunities that come from increased tourism. We want to raise awareness among tourists and tour operators about what they can do to have a positive effect on the places they visit, Jørgensen says in a press release.
Local knowledge put into a system
Anders la Cour Vahl, Deputy Director of Visit Greenland, points out that one of the goals of the project is to make it easier for local communities to share their knowledge with tour operators.
- Ultimately, it is the local communities in cooperation with tour operators that are best placed to advise tourists on what they should and shouldn’t do. We are excited to present a template that can be used to create Community Specific Guidelines. The template is a starting point for communities that want to work with tour operators to educate visitors on how they can make a positive impact. Using a common format will make it easier for tourists and operators to quickly understand what they should keep in mind in each place they visit, Mr. la Cour Vahl says.
The project is funded by NORA (the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation).