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Popular cruise destination to limit cruise ships

Svalbard, a cruise destination in Norway is set to introduce strict limits on cruise tourism in the region.

The Norwegian Government will change the rules in an effort to protect the region’s natural environment.

While Svalbard isn’t as popular as Norway’s fjords, the remote archipelago attracts nature tourists.

Mega cruise ships don’t sail to the region with tourists usually travelling on expedition ships that carry up to 500 passengers.

However, from January 1, 2025, the rules will change with limits brought in on the number of guests allowed on land and the size of ships. 

Ships travelling to Svalbard will only be able to carry up to 200 tourists and there will be a ban on breaking fast ice. The ice is used by animals for breeding, resting and hunting.

Ships will also need to stay at least 150m away from walruses while there will also be rules about sailing near bird cliffs.

Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, Norwegian minister of climate and environment, told High North News: “Climate change together with increased activity has resulted in great pressure on the vulnerable Arctic wildlife and nature in Svalbard.

“We are now tightening the environmental regulations in Svalbard to strengthen the protection of flora and fauna.”

While the new rules should help to protect the area’s fragile ecosystem, it could make cruises more expensive for passengers.

Norway is also set to introduce limits on the size of ships that can visit its popular fjord region.