Press release | Date: 15/05/2020 | Ministry of Justice and Public Security| No: 106 – 2020
The Government now opens up for tourists to travel from mainland Norway to Svalbard from the 1st of June.
– Providing predictability for the travel and leisure industry in Svalbard is important at this time so that they may begin the necessary planning for receiving tourists from the mainland. The community in Longyearbyen has been significantly affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic. It is appropriate that we enable the travel and leisure industry in Svalbard to resume activity at the same time as official recommendations for leisure travel on the mainland are revised, states Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland.
The Covid-19 regulation is applicable to Svalbard, and in concurrence with the regulation the Governor of Svalbard has established a general entry quarantine for travellers from mainland Norway. Subsequently, Svalbard has not been visited by tourists since the quarantine was established. A working committee in Svalbard has provided an industry standard for operating responsibly in the travel and leisure sector, while maintaining infection prevention.
– We plan for a gradual recommencement of tourism in Svalbard. The industry standard is a sound foundation for each business in the sector to organize its operations in such a manner so that the Governor may lift the entry quarantine for travellers from the mainland from the 1st of June, states Minister of Justice and Public Security Mæland.
The level of emergency medical responsiveness in Svalbard and potentially long evacuation routes to the mainland in cases where intensive care is required determine the framework for the gradual recommencement of tourism. Multiple-day coastal- and expedition cruises around Svalbard pose specific challenges. These challenges necessitate additional scrutiny by the working committee prior to a potential reopening.
- We will consider measures to limit the total number of tourists visiting Svalbard at any given time. This is essential in regards to the available level of emergency responsiveness in Svalbard. Further, it is a prerequisite in order for the travel and leisure industry to be able to operate in a manner which prevents spreading infection, states Minister of Justice and Public Security Mæland.
The Governor has announced that the entry quarantine for residents of Svalbard, and those with an established work attachment or research assignment to Svalbard will be lifted from the 15th of May. This is applicable solely to travellers arriving from the Norwegian mainland.
Persons arriving on the Norwegian mainland from abroad will continue to be subject to current quarantine regulations before they will be able to travel to Svalbard. In the event of any future changes to the quarantine regulations applicable to mainland Norway, an assessment of the implications for Svalbard will be undertaken.