Sustainable Tourism in Svalbard: A Balancing Act, is a collaboration between two Longyearbyen-based the tourism operators, AECO and Visit Svalbard, and researchers. The team will investigate how the local tourism industry can create new and sustainable opportunities as it responds to multiple transformative changes of Svalbards society and environment while maintaining a viable community in Longyearbyen and protecting Svalbards wilderness. The demands and pressures facing tourism are driven by Norwegian national policy goals for Svalbard, international processes such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement, climate hange, and local attitudes towards tourism. We will assess the action space that is emerging when the tourism industry balances different demands and pressures and provide new insights into the degree to which policy and governance enable or constrain economic opportunities and wilderness protection. Findings from our assessments of how policy and
governance, current and future climate change, and local attitudes may affect the tourism industry will be instrumental for developing sustainable tourism operations and products. Such products may include tourists being involved in environmental and community-related activities, and activities where tourists may gain an appreciation of the entire ecosystem and deeper appreciation of the function of Earth systems that may precipitate changes in attitudes about own lifestyle choices. The project will contribute to
Svalbard policy discussions with suggestions for how policies may have to change to ensure tourism-related economic growth while the local and national government anticipates and navigates rapid changes. Coproduction of knowledge for transformation and sustainability has relevance beyond Svalbard and will inform conceptual and theoretical development. A Summer School for PhD students will be organized to address the multiple demands and opportunities for future sustainable tourism.

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Research Professor and Reaserch Leader