Norway to allow Schengen residents to travel to Svalbard from July 15
Norway will permit the residents of Schengen Zone and European Economic Area (EEA) countries to travel to the archipelago of Svalbard from July 15, according to the Norwegian’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
Commercial flights, as well as expedition cruises (ships with capacity for 500 or fewer passengers), will be included in the reopening of Svalbard for travellers, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“It is important that tourism in Svalbard can also take part in the reopening we are now implementing in communities, but because of Svalbard’s emergency and emergency preparedness this opening must happen gradually and more controlled than on the mainland,”Minister of Justice and Emergency Preparedness Monica Mæland said.
In recent years, Svalbard has received up to 60,000 passengers, more than two-thirds from cruise ships. Since June 1, when travel to the archipelago was resumed, the number of daily visitors has been measured in hundreds arriving on many larger cruise ships.
“Both the tourism industry and the international university environment are essential in Svalbard. It is therefore positive that more people living in Europe can travel to Svalbard by plane or boat safely,” Minister of Transport and Communications Knut Arild Hareide said.
Norwegian company Hurtigruten said that it plans to resume cruises to Svalbard would include the first hybrid ship to voyage around the archipelago. However, Hurtigruten stressed that bookings for all of Norway are light.
The company clarified that usually sails with 11 fully booked ships in scheduled traffic throughout the summer.“Even with only a few ships in operation, the bookings appear to be around 30% this summer,” the company’s statement reveals.
Norway’s government has announced that ongoing assessments will be made to determine if lifting the ban on larger passenger ships is possible.