Svalbard: Focus on Tourism

Ships in Svalbard

Svalbard is expecting some 300 calls and 20,000 passengers by expedition ships this season, running from April through August, according to Eva Britt Kornfeldt of the Svalbard Cruise Network. In addition, the Port of Longyearbyen has confirmed 21 calls by traditional cruise ships, according to the 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

The expedition segment is continuing to grow, and will be up slightly year-over-year, said Frigg Jorgensen of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

Meanwhile, the regular cruise market will see six fewer calls this year over last year, although it will bounce back again in 2020. The largest ship calling this year is the 3,500-passenger MSC Preziosa.

“We have bookings until 2022,” Kornfeldt said. “We are planning a new floating pier in Longyearbyen, awaiting funding in the national state budget. Smaller expedition vessels use floating and tender piers.

“We will also be establishing a new tourism information center at the port, the current center is 1.5 kilometers away. We will keep the center open when big cruise ships call and also as a terminal for turnaround operations by expedition vessels.”

Other efforts include an Optimal Tourism Balance workshop to be arranged in Longyearbyen in September. It is sponsored by the AECO, the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research (NINA) and Visit Svalbard. The goal is to discuss, define and pitch research projects that can help Svalbard find the optimal balance in its tourism development.

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About the Expedition Market Report:

The 2019 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News is a comprehensive overview of the booming expedition market, profiling 39 operators, over 40 new ships and projecting capacity growth through 2027. The 196-page PDF is a deep dive into all aspects of the expedition cruise market.

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