This month, Longyearbyen became the first Arctic town to launch its own community specific guidelines. The guidelines instruct tourists on how to be considerate visitors and were developed using a template created by the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and partners.
When you visit Longyearbyen, you are encouraged to do as the locals: respect wildlife, nature and each other. The Arctic town has now launched new guidelines for tourists visiting their community. The guidelines offer tips and tricks to get around and advice on how to be a considerate guest.
Among other things, the guidelines encourage visitors to chat with locals, but to ask before taking photos and to respect people’s privacy. Visitors are invited to support the community by shopping locally but are reminded that there is no tradition for bargaining in Svalbard. Tourists are also given useful pointers on which side of the roads they should walk on if there’s no sidewalk and how they can help keeping Svalbard clean by using garbage bins.
The guidelines were created by Visit Svalbard, Port of Longyearbyen and Svalbard Cruise Network with funding from NORA (North Atlantic Cooperation).
“Longyearbyen is a popular tourist destination and these guidelines will help visitors understand our town. Tourists often visit for a short period, and these community guidelines are a great way of communicating local knowledge directly to visitors,” says Ronny Brunvoll, general manager of Visit Svalbard.
Frigg Jørgensen, executive director of AECO, hopes that more Arctic towns and hamlets will embrace the concept of community specific guidelines.
“AECO has created general community guidelines that provide travelers with useful dos and don’ts when visiting Arctic communities. We also created a template allows communities create their own tailored guidelines, and we are happy to see Longyearbyen become the first town to make this a reality,” says Jørgensen.
Longyearbyen’s community specific guidelines are available on the webpages of Visit Svalbard and AECO.