The Arctic attracts many people who wish to experience its fantastic wildlife, pristine landscapes and local cultures. No wonder that tourism activities in the region over the last 20 years have experienced an unrivaled growth.
Turning down the volume in Iceland’s Skjálfandi Bay
Nestled on the eastern edge of Skjálfandi Bay in northern Iceland, the picturesque town of Húsavík is known as one of the best places in Europe to get a close-up look at whales. In fact, you have a better chance of seeing a whale in Húsavík than any other place in Iceland. Because of the bay’s thriving ecosystem—which is teeming with plankton—humpbacks, minke and blue whales come here to feed from May to October before heading south for the winter to mate. But is the town’s thriving whale-watching industry distressing these magnificent mammals?Read more
Why it matters
WWF worked with tourism operators, government, researchers, conservation groups and communities from all over the Arctic to create the first arctic specific guidelines for tourism.
Ten Principles for Arctic tourism
- Make tourism and conservation compatible
- Support the preservation of wilderness and biodiversity
- Use natural resources in a sustainable way
- Minimise consumption, waste and pollution
- Respect local cultures
- Respect historic and scientific sites
- Arctic communities should benefit from tourism
- Trained staff are the key to responsible tourism
- Make your trip an opportunity to learn about the arctic
- Follow safety rules
Iceland’s natural beauty has always attracted travellers from around the world. But over the past eight years, the number of people coming to see its breathtaking waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes and glaciers has more than quadrupled. Almost 1.8 million people now visit Iceland each year—a number five times the population of the small Arctic country. This surge has forced Iceland to look for ways to protect the environment and charm that attracts travellers. In doing so, it is becoming a leader in sustainable tourism.
WWF works with communities throughout the Arctic to help them deal with the effects of climate change, support research, and bring northern stories to a global audience.