Media release: Russian state-owned company Trust Arcticugol excluded from the Svalbard Tourism Council

Media release from the Svalbard Tourism Council and Visit Svalbard
Longyearbyen 12. October 2022

Owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the related violations of international law and human rights, the board of the Svalbard Tourism Council has decided to exclude the Russian state-owned Russian company Trust Arcticugol from the organisation.

The decision to exclude the company was made at a board meeting on Wednesday 12 October. The board emphasizes that Trust Arcticugol is welcome to apply to re-join the organisation when the circumstances justify this. The decision means that the state-owned company based in Barentsburg loses access to joint planning processes and visibility on the platforms of the destination company, Visit Svalbard, among other things.

Furthermore, on the same day, Visit Svalbard also held an extraordinary general meeting. A decision was made during this meeting of the destination company to follow the tourism council’s request to “cease purchasing services from Russian state-owned companies in Svalbard”. The request will be implemented by removing all products, tours, services or other offers with any form of connection to the Russian state-owned companies in Svalbard from Visit Svalbard’s platforms. This also applies to third-party offers promoted on these platforms.

Impossible to remain passive about the warfare in Ukraine

The Chair of the Board of the Svalbard Tourism Council and Visit Svalbard, Ronny Strømnes, believes the local tourism industry has taken a courageous and extremely important stand by doing this.

“We want to tell the outside world that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not something we can passively sit and watch. We condemn violations of international law and human rights, and the exclusion from the council is a direct result of the warfare being committed by the Russian state,” says Strømnes.

He emphasizes that the decision is of a moral nature and is intended to have an impact on the Russian regime. “It’s important for us to emphasize that we have no desire to harm the population of Barentsburg. However, given the current situation, it’s impossible for us to cooperate with representatives of the Putin regime. We hope that sometime in the future the situation will normalise and the cooperation can resume”, says Strømnes.

If you have any questions, please contact the Chair of the Board, Ronny Strømnes: +47 950 00 300.

About Visit Svalbard and the Svalbard Tourism Council

The destination company Visit Svalbard is wholly owned by the Svalbard Tourism Council, which is a membership-based organisation for the tourism industry in Svalbard. The tourism council currently has 80 members, most of which are in the tourism industry and tourism-related industries in Longyearbyen.

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