Destination 90°N: Dimensions and geographies of tourism at the North Pole - Palmén colloquium

Destination 90°N: Dimensions and geographies of tourism at the North Pole

March 22nd 2024, Friday at 1pm

Tourism in the Arctic has existed for over 200 years. It is now a mature industry in the region, operating all year round and in all regions of the Arctic, including the North Pole. The North Pole, however, does not constitute a distinct region; it is rather a minuscule point located within a vast and endless white landscape. Therefore, investigating tourism at the North Pole is essentially an inquiry into the logistics of reaching this remote place, and of tourism operations taking place in the central Arctic Ocean. In addition, while the North Pole is located in the middle of an ocean, 700 kilometers from the nearest land, the presence of sea ice facilitates the development and diversification of various tourism operations and products, extending beyond (icebreaker) cruise tourism.

This paper explores the dimensions and geographies of tourism development at the North Pole in terms of modes of tourism, itineraries, and estimated numbers of tourists. It also aims to discuss the future of tourism in the region in light of estimated climate change impacts on the sea ice in order to better plan and adapt to a future seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean.

Alix Varnajot

History, Culture and Communications Research Unit
University of Oulu