For Arctic coastal communities, the arrival of cruise ships can provide economic opportunities, for example by offering trips to local attractions and providing services for cruise ships. Nevertheless, the arrival of cruise ships has been debated in the media and academia due to negative social and environmental consequences. Since the global Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, cruise activities have almost completely stopped in 2021. However, 2022 turned out to be a record year for Arctic cruise tourism, with a sharp increase in port calls compared to 2019 (based on statistics of Cruise Norway). The challenges for Arctic cruise communities are shaped by insecurities and unpredictability, related to climate, pandemic and geo-political tensions and changes. This project creates knowledge about how local Arctic cruise communities cope with the changes that they are facing, the development of cruise practices in a post-pandemic Arctic, and the role of sustainability in these changes. In particular, knowledge is needed about how Arctic communities can adapt to new conditions and coexist with the cruise industry after tourism restarts, but also how controversies and disadvantages can be transformed into opportunities for sustainable development. We examine how Arctic communities define and manage challenges resulting from cruise visits, or the lack thereof, and how being a cruise destination can link them together to ensure a sustainable future for cruise tourism throughout the European Arctic. We study five local cruise communities in Greenland, Iceland and Norway. Due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, we had to change our initial plan and had to let go of our Russian cases in March 2022. We have chosen to include one extra Norwegian case to replace our work in Russia. Our empirical material will be based on contributions and knowledge from local cruise tourism stakeholders, for example politicians, policy makers, ports, tourism providers and tour operators, and will be shared between communities. The first task we have focused on, was the development of a conceptual framework. This has resulted in a conceptual article co-authored by four project partners that is published in a peer reviewed journal (Ref: Ren, C., James, L., Pashkevich, A., & Hoarau-Heemstra, H. (2021). Cruise trouble. A practice-based approach to studying Arctic cruise tourism. Tourism Management Perspectives, 40, 100901.). The conceptual framework has served as the theoretical basis for developing the interview guides and observation guides that were used during our fieldwork in 2021 and 2022. In order to prepare our fieldwork, we have conduced desk research for each of our cases, which resulted in a desk-study report that will be part of the final project report. These desk-studies have been discussed and compared during a project workshop in January 2022. The aim of our fieldwork was to be present with at least two researchers, in order to facilitate on site discussion and analysis. We have conducted between 10 and 15 formal interviews in each of our cases, and supplemented this data material with observations and informal interviews. In November 2021, the Greenland case manager (Aalborg University) organized a workshop during the Greenland Science Week. The aim of this workshop was to gatherer cruise tourism stakeholders, and discuss sustainability issues. During the workshop, the preliminary findings from the Norwegian cases have been shared in recorded presentations. About 30 tourism stakeholders participated during the workshop. The data gathered for this project serves as the oundation for scientific articles that are collectively produced. For example, Nord University, Nordland Research Institute and Aalborg University have written a literature review, which will be submitted to review before the end of 2022. Empirical papers are in progress, and have been presented at several conferences in 2022. With the help of local, national and international dissemination, we are building a network of researchers who are interested in the development of Arctic coastal communities. Our Facebook group 'Sustainable Arctic Cruise Communities' has a growing amount of followers and we experience engagement with local cruise stakeholders and academics. To reach the academy, we will edit a special issue in The Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism in 2023 to include, but not limited to, research that is the result of this project.
We propose to contribute to sustainable development of coastal communities in the Arctic through qualitative case studies of cruise tourism development in six cruise communities across the European Arctic. Because of climate change and an increased international interest to experience the nature and societies of the Arctic, cruise activities are increasing in the Arctic region and this calls for experience-sharing and cooperation in pursuit of best practices. Sustainable tourism development is necessary for the region to prevent negative impacts from a growing tourism industry and protect local natural, social and cultural resources. Cruise communities in Iceland, Greenland and Norway face similar challenges when it comes to safeguarding their natural environments and welfare of their societies. Cruise research in the Arctic is a field that is relatively under-researched and there is a need for understanding practices, management and governance of cruise activities. Our ambitions are to connect cruise communities in the European Arctic through our case studies and to provide them with ideas for sustainable development through an overview of research-based best practices. By identifying challenges, practices and governance for sustainability, we contribute to knowledge sharing and capacity building in the sense that communities can build upon experiences from others. There is novelty in a cross-Arctic comparative approach as the majority of Arctic cruise tourism research has been conducted as single case studies. To advance the knowledge of sustainable cruise development in the Arctic we take stance in the innovative research position of Haraway’s (2016) 'staying with the trouble'. This stance offers a valuable lesson on how we might engage with co-creating tourism knowledge. A practice-based approach further enables us to contribute to collective and sustainable governance of cruise tourism in the Arctic.