Russian Arctic National Park welcomes record 1306 visitors in 2019

The Russian Arctic National Park, which is Russia’s northernmost and biggest nature reserve (8.8 million hectares), which unites the Franz Josef Land Archipelago and the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, welcomed 1,306 visitors in 2019, against 1,079 a year earlier, according to the park’s Director.

During the summer season, the 50 Let Pobedy nuclear-powered icebreaker made six return voyages Murmansk – North Pole; the Sea Spirit made three return voyages from Spitsbergen to Franz Josef Land, plus voyages on board the Bremen and Silver Explorer. Besides the big vessels, the park welcomed yachts the Lady Dana 44 and Begatela, and the Alter Ego and Apostle Andrey went to Novaya Zemlya.

Tourists from 44 countries visited the nature park in 2019. For the first time in the park’s history, most visitors came from Russia – 262, China this year took the second place with 255 guests, the US tourists – 193 guests – took the third place.

“This is not typical, as traditionally, we’ve registered many tourists from Germany and Switzerland. Usually, we have more guests from Germany, than from the US,” said the park’s Director.

The biggest share of visitors were between 51 and 70 years of age – 382, and 268 tourists were aged between 71 and 90.

According to the park’s official, starting in 2020, the nature reserve will regulate the tourist flow. “We shall pick different islands for different cruises, so that one island did not receive too many visitors in limited time,” the director said. “When 100-120 people go ashore at a time every week, the pressure is too high, even stones in the Arctic cannot stand it.”

Over coming years, the park may build decks and stone paths to minimize the impact on the environment.