Sustainable arctic cruise communities: From practice to governance

For small and remote Arctic communities, the arrival of cruise ships can provide economic opportunities, such as offering tours to local attractions and supply services for the cruise ships. Nevertheless, the arrivals of cruise ships have been heavily discussed because of negative social and environmental impacts that are experienced by local communities. Examples are pollution, waste problems, loss of culture, overuse of local infrastructure, invasion of non-native species and trampling.

​​​​This project addresses the challenges these communities face by creating knowledge of sustainable cruise practices in Arctic communities. In particular, knowledge is needed about how the cruise industry and Arctic communities can learn to co-exist and how controversies and disadvantages can be turned into opportunities for sustainable development. The project develops a toolkit for sustainable cruise tourism development which can promote a transition towards sustainable cruise visits in Arctic communities and thereby support the development of meaningful livelihoods for residents in the Arctic.

Behind the project is an international group of researchers from institutions in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Russia. The project focusses on sharing knowledge about best practices, local adaptations and sustainable solutions to challenges arising from cruise visits in the Arctic. We explore how Arctic communities are defining and governing challenges resulting from cruise visits and how being a cruise destination can connect them in order to safeguard a sustainable future for cruise tourism across the European Arctic. In order to do that, we look at six cruise communities; one in Greenland, one in Iceland, two in Russia and two in Norway. Our ambitions are to connect these cruise communities through our case studies and to provide Arctic cruise communities with ideas for sustainable development through an overview of research-based best practices. Our empirical material will be based on contributions and knowledge from local cruise stakeholders, such as the locals, harbors and tour operators, and will be shared between communities.

We see collaboration with the communities as a joint responsibility and through our approach we want to address common concerns in a collaborative manner. This can be called 'staying with the trouble'. In order to emerge ourselves in the troubles of Arctic cruise communities, we use practice theory and collaborative governance theory to build our lenses for looking at cruise and sustainability in the Arctic.

The project will start in the summer of 2020 and has a duration of three years. 

Se prosjektet på facebook​​


 2020 – 2023 (01.06.2020 – 31.05.2023)

Prosjektleder: Hindertje Hoarau-Heemstra

Samarbeidspartnere: Nordlandsforskning AS, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Dalarna University, Icelandic tourism research centre, Northern Arctic Federal University

Finansiering: The research Council of Norway (NFR), The High North and Russia (NORRUSS)​