All tourism vessel traffic in 2019, cruise and passenger ships.© PAME As Arctic marine tourism increases, how can we ensure it’s sustainable? 10 May 2021OceanRecommendationsProtection of the Arctic Marine EnvironmentPathways A look into Arctic tourism trends and local guideline development The Arctic is promoted as one of Earth’s last pristine areas with unique nature and rich history. In recent years as the region has become more accessible, more tourists have turned their attention to the Arctic. This increase in marine tourism could bring major impacts to the region. On one hand, there’s potential for local economic boosts and greater cultural and environmental awareness. But it could also lead to increases in pollution, invasive species and other serious social and environmental risks. Analyzing and enabling sustainable Arctic marine tourism is one goal of the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME). Its latest Arctic marine tourism project tracks trends with tourism vessels and analyzes guidelines for near-shore and coastal areas of the Arctic visited by tourists and operators. Arctic tourism trends Using its Arctic Ship Traffic Data system, PAME worked with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to analyze passenger vessel data from 2013 to 2019. It found a 35 percent increase in the number of passenger vessels operating during that time period within Arctic waters as defined by the Polar Code. In 2013, 77 unique ships operated in the Arctic, while in 2019 there were 104. As the Arctic environment changes, it may be feasible for passenger vessels to operate during more months of the year. Over the course of the years analyzed, 70 percent of passenger ships operated in more than one month. On average, 10 percent of passenger ships operated in six months or more, and in each year analyzed, at least one passenger vessel operated in all 12 months of the year. All tourism vessel traffic in 2019, cruise and passenger ships.