Russia Sets up Tourist Center in Franz Josef Land, a Remote Arctic Archipelago

In a move seen as a response to growing interest in tourist exploration above the Arctic Circle, Russia is opening a tourism center at the end of this month in the remote Franz Josef Land archipelago, the Barents Observer reports.

The visitor center is located on Guker Island, one of the largest in the group of islands. On this site in 1929, Soviet explorers established the very first research station in the region. The facility was regularly visited by Arctic expeditions afterward. In 1937, an Arctic observatory headed by the famous explorer Ivan Papanin was opened on the site.

The official opening will be made in connection with the coming to site of the Silver Explorer, the cruise ship that currently is on its way across the Northern Sea Route, the Russian Arctic National Park told the news outlet. On board the luxury vessel are 144 tourists that each have paid at least $36,600 for the Arctic voyage from Nome (Alaska) to Tromso (Norway).

“The popularity of visits to the Arctic is growing year by year and therefore it is necessary to create attractive conditions for the guests,” says the national park’s director Aleksandr Kirilov.

Workers are now building an outdoor museum and a total of six buildings have been renovated. Tourists will be offered overnight stays and also longer-term stays, as well as involvement in the local research activities, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources informs.