Cruise Destination Alta : Practices, challenges and opportunities
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- Arbeidsnotat 
In Alta, cruise tourism plays a significant role in the broader tourism industry, and its growth is expected in the upcoming years. However, the future of cruise tourism in Alta is a subject of extensive debate among local stakeholders. While many stakeholders strive to steer the cruise industry towards a more sustainable direction, they face various challenges. This case report utilizes desk research, document analysis, interviews, and field research to explore the key issues related to cruise tourism in Alta. The objective is to extract insights from this destination that can inform the development of more sustainable Arctic cruise communities in the future. The report emphasizes that Alta is a relatively new and emerging cruise tourism destination, primarily visited by small and medium-sized ships, particularly between December and April. As a result, Alta does not encounter the severe problems faced by smaller communities overwhelmed by large numbers of cruise tourists. Nevertheless, the analysis underscores the persistent challenges concerning the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of cruise tourism in Alta, which fuels an active debate about its future development. The report identifies three primary issues associated with cruise tourism in Alta. Firstly, there is a desire among the tourism community to strike a balance between land-based tourism and cruise tourism, given the limited capacity of places, experiences, and tourism personnel. It is unfavorable for the entire destination's capacity to be solely allocated to cruise tourism. Secondly, infrastructure development in Alta lags behind the growth of cruise tourism. As Alta did not plan the physical space as a dedicated cruise tourism harbor, it presents challenges for both local stakeholders and cruise guests. Stakeholders express a need for investment in improved cruise equipment, such as a new quay further away from the airport, land-based electricity, and infrastructure to connect to the town of Alta. Thirdly, many stakeholders emphasize the economic and social importance of cruise tourism activities for sustainability. This viewpoint was also highlighted during the Northern Norwegian cruise conference held in Alta in 2022. The tourism community in Alta relies on the economic benefits generated by cruise arrivals to survive and develop throughout the rest of the year. Seasonality concerns arise, particularly because the winter months already witness high visitation from landbased tourists. Stakeholders express a desire for a more even spread of cruise tourists throughout the year. While different stakeholders attribute diverse values and meanings to cruise tourism, there is a consensus that sustainability is the desired path. Efforts are underway to obtain a sustainability certification for Alta, aiming to explore how the destination can become more sustainable and resilient in the future. Overall, most stakeholders in Alta express a preference against mass cruise tourism and the presence of very large ships. However, there is no clear consensus on the preferred cruise segment, apart from the aspiration to attract higher-spending tourists and offer a more exclusive experience. While stakeholders generally agree that cruise tourism should be better regulated, there is a lack of concrete ideas on how to achieve this or identify the responsible entity with the authority and mandate to lead in this matter. Consequently, closer collaboration and extensive discussions among industry stakeholders, as well as broader representatives and community members, are necessary to integrate cruise tourism into the sustainable economic, environmental, and social development of Alta.