News from Longyearbyen


Longyearbyen – re-labelled as a Sustainable Destination and revised Master Plan for Tourism 

Visit Svalbard is proud to have Longyearbyen labelled as a Sustainable Destination. The label scheme, which is owned by Innovation Norway, has been an important tool for the destination company Visit Svalbard, the local companies and the wider destination in working seriously towards sustainability and improving sustainability in the local tourism industry – day by day and year by year. Having this prestigious label does not necessarily mean that we are sustainable, but it commits us to focus on sustainability. 

Focusing on sustainability is focusing on the future and, in the recovery of our destination following the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the re-labelling will play a key role in putting sustainability on the agenda as we seek to resume the positive development that Svalbard’s tourism industry experienced before the onset of Covid-19. 

The revised strategy has a strong and clear sustainability ambition. The goal is to find 

the optimal balance in tourism, and prioritise guests with the least footprint and the highest 

economic impact. Future growth will primarily take place within existing capacity. The plan looks forward to 2030 and focuses on “not more visitors, but the right visitors”.  

The cruise guests account for almost half of the visitors to Svalbard through the year and are a focus of the new master plan. Cruise will relate to the same sustainability criteria and principles as the land-based segment. New methods and tools will be developed to measure local economic impact and carbon emissions from cruise guests. The insight will be used to prioritise future segments. 

The master plan considers the future mix of cruise brands, which will be apparent in Longyearbyen already this summer. Owing to existing and expected future regulations, the number of conventional cruise calls is expected to decrease, while expedition cruise calls and turnarounds are expected to increase. This will be a new situation for Longyearbyen, which requires insight and data capture to enable the community to make the right and knowledge-based decisions. Surveillance of sustainability criteria will be made in both segments.  

In the short term this summer, with a record number of cruise calls and land-based visitors in a town which has been quiet for two years, with sustainability in mind we have decided not to approve company-branded shore excursions (like e-scooters, bikes and RIBs) that don’t use local suppliers. The travel trade in Longyearbyen has capacity on cruise days, and we encourage cruise lines and operators to use the local shore excursion agent and local suppliers when visiting Longyearbyen. 

SvalBad – dive into the fjord at 78 degrees North 

SvalBad is a completely different experience. Time will slow down here and so will your heart rate. It’s time for those warm conversations or to simply enjoy the peaceful silence. 

By booking the sauna for a private group, the sauna is reserved exclusively for your private group of up to 14 people. 

You can enjoy the view of the town’s mountain, Hjorthfjellet, in all its glory through the large windows or maybe see the Northern Lights in the clear, starry sky during the Polar Night. 

SvalBad is a floating, wood-burning sauna docked in the Port of Longyearbyen. The float and the sauna are largely built with recycled materials from old buildings in Longyearbyen and Svea. Local history is literally built into the walls. We are proud to say that SvalBad is a result of great teamwork, great local commitment and is an excellent example of circular economy. 

For other news from Svalbard, please see here