The Svalbard common sense rules

The local tourism industry and the Governor has prepared a set of “Common sense rules for Svalbard”. These describe how the authorities and the tourism industry would like the visitors to Svalbard should behave.

Environmental Protection

Flora and fauna on Svalbard have adapted to the difficult Arctic conditions, but the nature is still very fragile, and even minor encroachments can cause lasting damage. This is why special environmental regulations have been developed for Svalbard. The purpose of the Environmental Act of Svalbard and its appurtenant regulations is among others to ensure the protection of Svalbard’s vulnerable natural environment and its many valuable historical monuments.

Tourism and travel

All visits to Svalbard are subject to strict regulations regarding the protection of nature and historical sites, as well as ensuring the safety of the visitors. Strict rules apply to tour operators, tour organisers and tourist vessels, for example, that tour organisers are fully responsible for their customers’ safety. The organisers are also responsible for ensuring that the travellers are informed about all relevant rules and regulations. The tour organiser must inform the Governor of Svalbard of all tour plans well ahead of the start of the season, as well as present proof of insurance to cover any search and rescue operations should the need arise.

If you are going out for a trip alone and plan to go beyond Administrative Sector 10 (the central parts of Spitsbergen), you must report your planned trip to the Governor of Svalbard. The obligation to report applies to all trips both on land and on sea, and such reports shall be made on specific forms. Make sure you contact the Governor of Svalbard a long time in advance. You will also be required to take out a search and rescue insurance or provide a guarantee for the same in connection with such a trip.

The environmental protection legislation contains certain restrictions for traffic within Svalbard. Among other things, the use of motorised vehicles on bare grounds is prohibited, and the use of scooters is only permitted in certain areas. All traffic in the bird sanctuaries and in some other protected areas is regulated or prohibited. Special rules apply to camping. Please familiarise yourself with the environmental legislation of Svalbard, especially prior to setting out on a trip by yourself.

Svalbard is an Arctic pearl. The nature, landscape and historical monuments set the premises for all activities, and this is the way we want it to remain. With this in mind, we encourage all visitors to ”TAKE CARE OF SVALBARD”.

Common sense rules for Svalbard

1. Don’t be an arctic litterbug! Leave no lasting signs of your visit.
2. Birds and other animals are not to be disturbed. Remember, you are the guest.
3. Help take care of the biodiveristy. Do not pick flowers.
4. Leave old cultural remains alone. Law protects all traces of humans from before 1946.
5. It is prohibited to lure, pursue or otherwise seek out polarbears in such a way as to disturb them or expose either bears or humans to danger.
6. Do not leave the settlements without a suitable gun, and experience in using it.
7. Be considerate to others.
8. Contact the Governor’s office (Sysselmannen) if planning a longer field excursion. A mandatory registration applies for travel to large parts of Svalbard.
9. Acquaint yourself with the rules and regulations pertaining to travel and other tourist activities on Svalbard.
10. For the sake of both the environment and yourself, we recommend organized tour arrangements.

It is impossible being an invisible tourist,
– but we do appreciate your trying.