Hurtigruten and guests help to protect fragile arctic environ-ment as AECO increases guidelines in Spitsbergen

Newspapers

Tromsø, October 2012 — Protecting the fragile environments they sail in is of paramount importance to Hurtigruten. Its philosophy of ‘take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints’ is one supported by the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) who will increase their number of guidelines for specific sites in Spitsbergen from 9 to 21 for 2013. They aim to ensure the continued protection of this vulnerable destination and to ensure guests can continue to enjoy visiting it in years to come.

This year, AECO extended its site inspection expedition and took a team of specialist team including biologists, an archaeologist, a botanist and other tourism experts to the East Svalbard Nature Reserves. The work of the scientific team was to conduct biological, cultural heritage and botanical observations in order to derive practical guidelines for environmentally friendly field landings that AECO members are required to follow. This includes areas where Hurtigruten sails during its circumnavigation of Spitsbergen itinerary. This project is funded by the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund, a fund that all visitors, including Hurtigruten guests, contribute into via a fee incorporated into their airfares.

Jørn Henriksen, Environmental Manager at Hurtigruten comments: “We welcome these new guidelines with open arms. We understand that we have a responsibility to be respectful of the waters and destinations we sail and to protect them to ensure they stay open to tourists. It is encouraging to see that specific areas of the eastern archipelago are now being studied by external scientific experts to ensure that we safeguard the area so people can continue to experience it. Our guests really like the fact that they help towards this by paying a small environmental fee as it’s their way of giving something back.”

Frigg Jorgensen, general secretary at AECO adds:”We want to support our members in every way possible and make it as easy for them as possible to operate safely and
responsibly. We carried out extensive research in 2012 on a wider area of Spitsbergen which has resulted in AECO more than doubling its guidelines.”

Hurtigruten offers three itineraries in Spitsbergen on various dates in July and August 2013. ‘In the Realm of the Polar Bear’ – this nine-day voyage for example offers a complete circumnavigation of Spitsbergen. Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten’s visitor-friendly website, www.hurtigruten.com.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations – including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen – as well as year round along Norway’s coast and Europe in the spring. The company’s fleet of 13 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travellers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere.
Media contact: Petra Sestak International PR Manager Postbox 43
N-8501 Narvik, Norway Tel: 0047/90 55 24 22 www.hurtigruten.com