The Svalbard Cruise Forum gathered over 200 representatives from all cruise operators and those planning to operate in Svalbard in 2023 at a digital meeting titled “Longyearbyen – The Gateway to Svalbard.”
The Svalbard Cruise Forum was established earlier this year under the leadership of Visit Svalbard and as a collaboration between main cruise stakeholders, including the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). The meeting was held on April 18, 2023.
“The Svalbard Cruise Forum is becoming the ultimate example of cooperation between cruise industry and local communities, aiming to ensure mutual value creation and sustainability. Yesterday’s meeting was one of many measures on our list and we hope that this work will inspire other destinations,” said Frigg Jørgensen, executive director at AECO.
The Forum was established with the goal of minimizing the strain on the local community by coordinating the logistics around arrivals. In addition to that, it seeks to increase local value creation through dialogue between the cruise industry and local businesses.
“The operators wish to acquire new knowledge and learn about the opportunities of visiting Longyearbyen. We need to make sure that they have an even better understanding of the place they visit,” said Eva Britt Kornfeldt, coordinator for Svalbard Cruise Forum.
The two-hour session included a presentation from Norwegian Coastal Administration about their focus areas and services. The Norwegian Maritime Authority talked about their presence and focus areas on ship inspections and the Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Center warned about the challenging operational conditions and long distances.
“This meeting was, in many ways, the baptism of fire for Svalbard Cruise Forum. As far as I know, no other cruise destination has gathered the local community, authorities, and so many global stakeholders from the industry at the same table before,” said Ronny Brunvoll, CEO of Visit Svalbard, Ronny Brunvoll.