In March, AECO helped facilitate four Community Specific Guideline Workshops in western, northern, and south-eastern Iceland. The workshops were led and organized by communities in Akranes, Húsavík, Hrísey, and Djúpivogur.

All the workshops were organized by the communities with the purpose of gathering local stakeholders to discuss the dos and don’ts for visitors in their communities.

In addition to a general discussion of tourism in the specific communities, the goal of the workshops was to develop community specific guidelines like the one developed by the east Icelandic town of Seyðisfjörður 2018. See the Seyðisfjörður Community Guidelines here. 

About Community Specific Guidelines

Community specific guidelines are a tourism management tool developed in 2017 by Cruise Iceland, Visit Greenland, Visit Svalbard, the Northern Norway Tourist Board and AECO funded by NORA (the Northatlantic Cooperation). The tool can be used in connection with all types of tourism in a specific community. The tool is well suited for ship-based tourism but is also valuable for other types of tourism. Community guidelines contribute to building a better exchange and coordination between the local community, the local authorities and the tourist and tourism operators.

Currently, 12 Communities have developed Community Specific guidelines, in places like: Nuuk, the Greenlandic capital, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. There are also community guidelines for two communities in Nunavut. AECO has adopted all of these guidelines and made them mandatory for all of AECO’s operators. All community specific guidelines are publicly available on AECO’s webpage. Here, you can also see the general community guidelines which are applicable for visitors all over the Arctic. Communities that are considering the development of their own guideline can use the community specific guideline template, available here.

Advantages of Community Specific Guidelines

Community specific guidelines are a tool that can help:

  • tourists to be more informed about the community they visit
  • make sure that visitors better understand what to do and not to do in the specific community
  • decrease potential tension related to tourism
  • increase the number of good exchanges for both the visitor and locals
  • increase local communities benefit from tourism (including commercial benefits)
  • steering the tourism development locally and regionally, and
  • ease the exchange of information regarding tourism