Arctic tourism | WWF
	© Sylvia Rubli / WWF

Arctic tourism

As you can imagine, the Arctic attracts many people who wish to experience its fantastic wildlife, pristine landscapes and local cultures. No wonder that tourism activities in the region over the last 15 years have experienced an unrivalled growth.
Although the number of tourists travelling to the North is still relatively small, some areas are seeing mass tourism development in a fragile environment.

The WWF Arctic Programme sees tourism as one way to support the protection of the arctic environment.

Responsible Arctic tourism allows visitors to appreciate and respect arctic nature and cultures, and provide additional income to local communities and traditional lifestyles.

Learn about responsible Arctic ecotourism:

Alkefjellet cliffs in Svalbard. 
	© WWF / Miriam Geitz
A boat approaches the Alkefjellet cliffs in Svalbard, Norway. The area is home to around 300,000 pairs of Brünnich’s guillemot as well as numerous kittiwakes during the high season.
© WWF / Miriam Geitz

For Arctic tour operators

WWF worked with tourism operators, government, researchers, conservation groups and communities from all over the Arctic to create the first arctic specific guidelines for tourism.

Ten Principles for Arctic tourism

  1. Make tourism and conservation compatible
  2. Support the preservation of wilderness and biodiversity
  3. Use natural resources in a sustainable way
  4. Minimise consumption, waste and pollution
  5. Respect local cultures
  6. Respect historic and scientific sites
  7. Arctic communities should benefit from tourism
  8. Trained staff are the key to responsible tourism
  9. Make your trip an opportunity to learn about the arctic
  10. Follow safety rules

Code of conduct for Arctic tour operators

What is ecotourism?

	© Georg Bangjord
Leave no lasting trace.
© Georg Bangjord

There is no generally accepted definition of ecotourism, but it is widely understood that it

  • is nature-based
  • is small scale or operates with small groups
  • contributes actively to nature conservation
  • offers excellent nature interpretation
  • is based in, actively involves and benefits the local community.

While ecotourism is almost always nature-based tourism, not all nature-based tourism is ecotourism!

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