The first organized groups of Russian schoolchildren already visited the archipelago in 2006 as the result of the joint efforts of the Russian Consulate in Spitsbergen, the Ministry of Education and Arktikugol (a Russian coal mining company). Moreover, in 2012 a Russian Agency of Tourism (Rosturism) claimed that future destination development of settlements on Spitsbergen should be based on utilising Norwegian expertise and experience from the area. Paradoxically as it may seem a head of the destination marketing organisation Svalbard Tourism still has a limited knowledge concerning the Russian plans.
This pilot study is aiming to change this situation and shed light regarding the first results of the destination development of Russian settlements, as well as the future possibilities for synergy effects between Russian and Norwegian tourism development. This is done by using semi-structured interviews with several principle stakeholders from major tourist organisations, both Russian and Norwegian, as well as participant observations in the field.
School of Technology and Business Studies, Dalarna University, Borlänge