Arctic tourism in Russia

Tourism, Pyramiden, Svalbard (Photo: NPI)

Tourism 2013
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In December 2013, the Murmansk regional government decreed that the role of tourism in economic and socio-cultural development of the region should be increased. Cruise tourism is recognized as a key area for further development. To develop the infrastructure to ensure regular marine passenger transport, the “Arctic Harbor” investment project will be implemented. Within the project’s framework, a range of improvements are planned, including: reconstruction of

buildings, and piers for long-distance lines at port areas and marine terminals; and the first nuclear-powered icebreaker "Lenin" being permanently stationed at the harbor. Marine terminals will also accept passenger cruise ships, presenting an opportunity to open a regular ferry line Kirkenes - Murmansk.

During 2014, there were five cruises to the North Pole, including entrance into the Federal Reserve territory “Zemlya Frantza Iosifa” with the nuclear icebreaker “50 Let Pobedy” (Figure 4.4.28). In addition, the diesel icebreaker “Kapitan Dranitzytn” is used to visit the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

 Figure 4.4.28. Route of the nuclear icebreaker “50 let Pobedy” carrying tourists to the North Pole.Figure 4.4.28. Route of the nuclear icebreaker “50 let Pobedy” carrying tourists to the North Pole.

During the 2014 season, 738 tourists from over 30 countries visited the National Park “Russkaya Arktika” and Federal Reserve “Zemlya Frantza Iosifa”. Almost 40% of the visitors were from the Peoples Republic of China. The reserve has plans to open the border control point on Franz Josef Land in 2015 to process admission of foreign visitors. In addition, the administration of National Park “Russkaya Arktika” hopes for a decree to expand the territory of the National Park “Russkaya Arktika” by including the Federal Reserve “Zemlya Frantza Iosifa” into its territory.

The Joint Stock Company (JSC) «LUKOIL Oil Company» “Atomflot” organized four cruises from Murmansk aboard the nuclear icebreaker “50 Let Pobedy” during on the following dates in 2015 ( However, it has been reported that as of 2016, there will be no more tourist cruises to the North Pole and Franz Josef Land with the nuclear icebreakers due to further utilization of the icebreakers exclusively for their intended purpose. Apparently, there will still be cruises with the diesel icebreaker “Kapitan Dranitzyn”, but only to the Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya.

In addition, various natural attractions of the Murmansk region and Nenets Autonomous District allow the development of environmental tourism. There are three protected areas on the Kola Peninsula: Kandalaksha Reserve (70.5 thousand hectares), “Pasvik” reserve (14,727 thousand hectares), Lapland reserve (268,4 thousand hectares), as well as Kolguev and Vaigach islands, bird cliffs and marine mammal haul-outs in the Pechora sea on Russkiy Zavorot peninsula and Lovetzkiy, Dolgiy-1, Dolgiy-2, Zelenetz and Matveev islands.