10 things to know about your environmental commitment in Svalbard

A voyage to Svalbard offers experiences close to nature’s most spectacular landscapes, genuine cultures, exceptional people and amazing wildlife. Preserving these resources in their natural, unspoiled condition is our priority - you will always experience the highest environmental awareness on board and ashore.

3 mins read


Arctic Flowers, Svalbard

Hurtigruten is a participant in the Norwegian Polar Institute’s project to register marine mammals in the Arctic. Gathering this data improves insight of habitat use and seasonal migration patterns and is also used in The Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard.

Thank you for helping us conduct respectful, environmentally-friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. Here are 10 things you need to know before your Svalbard adventure:

1. AECO

Hurtigruten is a full member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators which is an international organization ensuring that tourism in the Arctic is carried out with the utmost consideration for the vulnerable natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as the challenging environment at sea and on land. This organisation provides Hurtigruten Svalbard as an operator and you as a visitor with guidelines we are committed to follow.

2. LEAVE NO LASTING SIGNS OF YOUR VISIT

Leave no lasting signs of your visit means that you of course must not leave any litter behind, including small items such as cigarette butts. Do not engrave on rocks or buildings and do not build cairns, rearrange stones or in any other way leave visible signs of your visit. In addition we also ask you to watch where you set foot in order to protect the flora and vegetation and avoid path-making. Avoid stepping on flowers or plant beds if at all possible.

3. DO NOT PICK FLOWERS

In some parts of the Arctic flora is protected by law, in others not. But AECO regards all flora as protected and asks you to not pick flowers or other plants.

4. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING WITH YOU

We encourage you to leave the Arctic as it is. Cultural remains are protected. In addition we ask you to leave stones, bones, antlers, driftwood and other items where they are.

5. DO NOT DISTURB ANIMALS AND BIRDS

AECO regards all fauna in the Arctic as protected and will avoid disturbing animals and birds as far as possible. If close to animals and nesting birds, avoid making loud noises and keep conversation low and calm. AECO controls maximum group sizes when making landings and excursions and also minimum distances to various wildlife. You will be instructed by your leader. Please help us preserve the wildlife by following the instructions.

6. LEAVE CULTURAL REMAINS ALONE

Cultural remains are protected by law and a zone of 100 metres around the remains is also considered a protected zone. Watch where you are walking and standing. Walk around and not in between objects. Do not take anything with you and do not attempt to touch or rearrange objects.

7. TAKE THE POLAR BEAR DANGER SERIOUSLY

Polar bears are potentially dangerous animals, but also vulnerable. It is of the utmost importance that you follow your guide’s instructions. For important rules for behaviour in polar bear areas please click the link below.

8. RESPECT LOCAL CULTURE AND LOCAL PEOPLE

When visiting local communities, please remember that you are a guest. Respect people and local cultures. AECO will make every effort to make sure that our visits to local communities have positive and not negative impact. For more information, please click the link below.

9. BE SAFE

Travel in Arctic areas may involve various risks. Rule number one is that you must always pay attention to and follow the instructions given by your expedition leader or guide. Never stray from your group.

10. STAY UP TO DATE

Read more about the AECO guidelines before your voyage: https://www.aeco.no/guidelines/

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