The Norwegian Government has announced that expedition cruise operators will be allowed to revisit Svalbard under strict new regulations.
For example, cruise ships will only be able to carry half of their maximum capacity, need additional medical staff on board and also require guest health certificates.
The re-opening will take place within already existing national rules for entry and mandatory quarantine obligations, which stipulate, for instance, that during a phased approach residents in Norway – and from 15th June, residents from Nordic countries with some exemptions – can travel to Svalbard – keeping access restricted.
Each cruise operator will need to develop and the make an application with individual plans based on the infection control industry guidelines, which then will be considered by the Governor of Svalbard, according the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).
“We are thrilled that the Norwegian Government and local stakeholders are demonstrating determination, willingness and co-operation to open for expedition cruises in Svalbard again, which is a vital contributor to local tourism economies,” said AECO’s Executive Director, Frigg Jørgensen.
Infection control industry guidelines for expedition cruises in Svalbard builds on comparable general tourism industry guidelines for the area, which the authorities had earlier prepared in close collaboration with Visit Svalbard, the local tourist office in Longyearbyen.
Cruise operators will need to review and comply with a 100-page infection control guideline document, AECO said.