Tour operators are required to notify the Governor about planned activities in Svalbard well in advance of every season and, at the very least, 8 weeks before the activities are planned to start. 

For more information, please contact the Tourism advisor.

The tour operator's responsibility

The Regulations relating to tourism and other travel in Svalbard sets demands to tour operators in Svalbard, hereunder: Tour operators are responsible for ensuring adequate safety for participants at all times. Tour operators must have sufficient and relevant knowledge, expertise and experience suited to the individual field operations and travel programmes, including:

  • relevant regulatory framework, including the Svalbard Environment Act with regulations,
  • safety, including polar bear safety, glaciers, avalanches and sea ice,
  • first aid
  • local conditions, including climatic conditions
  • natural environment, cultural heritage and responsible travel
  • other factors that are considered necessary for the execution of the field operations or travel programmes.

Training of guides, equipment/ emergency equipment and routines shall be described in the notification of travel plans. Tour operators shall bring adequate means of communication on all trips. ID-numbers for emergency beacons and phone number for Iridium phones shall be included in the notification

Tour operators must also ensure that anyone who works for them or who participates in the, is acquainted with and complies with the rules in these Regulations and the rules stipulated in or pursuant to the Svalbard Environment Act relating to the protection of Svalbard's flora, fauna, cultural heritage, and natural environment in general.

The Governor may require a tour operator to document sufficient and relevant experience, and knowledge of local conditions in Svalbard before you can start tour operation here. This includes themes as for example polar bear protection, traffic on glaciers, avalanche danger, traffic on sea ice and local weather conditions.

We remind you that the Governor can, according to the tourism regulations § 9, set demands to the travel plan if necessary to secure that the travel plan alone or in connection with other activity are in accordance with the tourism regulations purpose, and also possibly forbid a travel plan if such demands are not complied with.

Compulsory adjustments 

Please note that the Governor is entitled to demand that you make adjustments to, or alter, the details of your programme (marketing, transport, equipment etc.) if this is deemed necessary so that your programme ensures the safety of the participants, protects the environment of Svalbard, respects the local communities and complies with current legislation.

The Governor may also prohibit planned tours or activities, or the completion of them, if the demands or other provisions in the "Regulations relating to tourism and other travel" have not being complied with.

Knowledge of local conditions

The Governor may require documentation of sufficient and relevant knowledge of local conditions. 

Insurance

Tour operators are required to have an insurance or produce a bank guarantee for expenses incurred for potential search or rescue operations (SAR) or transport of patients in connection with activities in Svalbard. The Governor determines the insurance amount on the basis of information in your notification.

Documentation confirming your SAR insurance (or bank guarantee) shall be sent or delivered to the Governor before activities can be initiated. A copy of the insurance contract (or the original bank guarantee) in Norwegian or English is accepted as valid documentation.