Cruise Tourism to Boost in Russian Arctic

Photo: Dolya Sergey/

Cruise Tourism to Boost in Russian Arctic

The Russian Arctic will become one of top cruise tourism destinations. This objective is enshrined in the recently approved Cruise Tourism Development Concept published by the Federal Government this 7 February. A Concept’s implementation roadmap is expected to be delivered until 1 July 2022.

The Russian North is known to be popular with both Russian and foreign tourists. Expeditionary cruises to remote polar archipelagoes such as Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as tours to the North Pole onboard Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy were attracting numerous tourists before the COVID-19 crash. Many foreign vessels cruise between Alaska and Norway via the Northern Sea Route, while Russian tourists eagerly pay for river cruises to such Arctic cities as Salekhard, Dudinka, Dikson etc.

The Concept defines expeditionary tourism in the Russian Arctic, including on the NSR, as a potentially highly profitable niche in the cruise tourism market. Northern regions are home to unique natural attractions -- and this is exactly what drives tourists to visit the Arctic. However, to be able to make a difference, steps must be taken to increase the region’s connectivity and improve national regulations applicable to cruise tourism. New tour packages and products should be delivered, together with widening the choice of routes available to tourism, including through the introduction of new sea and river tours and expedition cruises to the Russian High North. The Concept also provides for designing a national program for the promotion of cruise tourism aiming to bring more tourists to the Russian Far East and Arctic.

The adoption of the Concept is regarded as a meaningful step towards making the economy of remote areas in the Russian Arctic more stable and sustainable. A burgeoning tourism industry is expected to bring more jobs and investments into the region thus giving it a strong economic boost.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
8 February 2022
Arctic Today