Tourism in Polar and Cryosphere Environments

Tourism can be a powerful tool for bio-cultural conservation and espescially this combination can have positive impact on the sensitive polar and cryosphere environments.

GRID-Arendal is UNEP's Polar Centre

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has designated GRID-Arendal as the UNEP Polar Centre on environmental assessments and early warning issues, with particular focus on the Arctic. GRID-Arendal’s Polar Programme advocates for sustainable development of the Arctic through building knowledge and awareness for sound decision-making, participating in international stakeholder processes, and further developing the capacity of Arctic peoples. Understanding and supporting Sustainable Tourism in the Arctic and Antarctic regions plays a critical role in the management of these sensitive areas of global significance.

Visitors experiencing the landscape around Krossfjorden,Svalbard. Photo: Peter Prokosch.

Svalbard is a well functioning example where tourism supports the management and development of protected areas. Svalbard holds twenty-one nature reserves, seven national parks, one protected geotope and in fact 62% of the area is protected. Therefore the tourism operators are prime examples of Linking Tourism and Conservation, and in general Svalbard serves as a case study for sustainable tourism development globally.


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