Last week, under the guidance of the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working-group, a workshop was held in Ottawa, Canada to address the topic of Arctic cruise tourism.

During the workshop a number of speakers, including researchers, operators and industry representatives helped correct the myth about the supposedly ‘large increase’ in Arctic cruise tourism, according to the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

In short - and as demonstrated below - Arctic cruise tourism is not a fast growing industry.

A false notion of the actual number of visitors has the potential of creating too high expectations both in regards to opportunities and risks, said the AECO.

The statement continued: "Governments might put too large an emphasis on business opportunities, while authorities may consider the need for new regulations based on incorrect presumptions. This can – in turn – lead to unnecessarily strict regulations and a decline in local tourism and business opportunities."

According to Frigg Jørgensen, Executive Director of Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO): “Expedition cruise tourism can be a driver of environment protection and a better local economy – if measures are based on facts and if operators, local communities and regulators work together”.