Arctic Cruise Shipping: Dreams, Development or Disaster?

4 Current Developments in Arctic Law (2016), pp. 14-16

Posted: 27 Dec 2019

See all articles by Stefan Kirchner

Stefan Kirchner

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre

Date Written: October 1, 2015


The tourism industry currently sees two major trends: Arctic tourism and cruise tourism. The combination of these trends means a dramatic growth in the number of tourists who visit remote Arctic and sub-Arctic communities, often just for one day or a few hours. The economic benefits of such visits for the local communities are relatively limited (for example to the sale of souvenirs) because the cruise tourists will have their needs for accommodation, food etc. met on board. The ecological and social cost for small communities, on the other hand is substantial. While there might be an expectation of economic development through tourism, many small communities are struggling to cope with large numbers of visitors and their ecological and economical impact, ranging from the problem of waste generated by tourists to driving prices up for local residents as well. Often large cruise vessels overwhelm small communities. This article investigates the fault lines between expectations and realities from the perspective of small local communities in the Arctic.

Keywords: Arctic, Arctic ocean, cruise shipping, tourism, sustainable development, environment, pollution

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Kirchner, Stefan, Arctic Cruise Shipping: Dreams, Development or Disaster? (October 1, 2015). 4 Current Developments in Arctic Law (2016), pp. 14-16, Available at SSRN:

Stefan Kirchner (Contact Author)

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre ( email )

P.O. Box 122
Rovaniemi, Lapland 96101
+358404844001 (Phone)


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