Arctic Tourism Potential In Formation Of Professional Competencies Of International Relations Specialist


In the palette of Russian regions, the Arctic has a special place. It has unique potential, numerous resources, natural and cultural objects. All this requires development and popularization, and tourism can become one of the means of promoting the Arctic heritage. Arctic tourism is a complex phenomenon and it is rapidly developing. Arctic tourism can be a promising direction, but for this highly qualified specialists, well-trained professionals, should handle it. Moreover, Arctic tourism itself plays an important role in shaping the professional competencies of international experts as promotes the development of communication skills. In this article, researchers turn to the cultural heritage of the Arctic, which serves as the basis for the development of tourism in the region and, as a result, requires a professional approach to conservation and popularization. Tourism is seen as a driver of the development of the region, its cultural and economic potential. The article presents an analysis of the concept of Arctic tourism, comments on the main types of Arctic tourist routes. Based on numerous examples of tangible and intangible cultural objects of the Arctic, the largest sporting events, the authors considered the potential of the region as a promising, dynamically developing international tourist center. The article is of interest to international relations practitioners, future professionals, who are focused on developing their skills and competences, negotiations, regional planning, preserving heritage etc.

Keywords: Arcticheritageinternational relations specialistsporttourism


The Arctic region reflects the characteristics of modern multilateral and bilateral cooperation, emphasizes and actualizes the problems of modern international humanitarian ties, for example, the preservation and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural and natural heritage. The Arctic region reflects the important historical traditions of international interaction, which can become the basis of modern international tourist routes. The Arctic allows developing the skills of research, regulatory activities, and opens up the possibility of creating new institutions, foundations, international organizations that can unite both official, state representatives and the public. The attention of many states are attracted to the Arctic today, and therefore this region can become a scientific laboratory, a platform for organizing research, analytical, and production practices of future specialists in the field of international relations (Byers, 2017; Shaparov & Kapitsyn, 2019).

International relations specialist is a moderately well-read and interdisciplinary specialist. It is important for him to introduce the art of understatement and understanding in everyday life of people (Tanova et al., 2018). International relations specialist role is to strengthen bilateral relations between peoples, the protection of life and human development and he can implement it in the Arctic region development.

Problem Statement

Arctic tourism is a new phenomenon, but dynamically developing in recent years. At the beginning of the XXI century, there was a surge of interest in visiting the Arctic. The development of Arctic tourism creates the need for the development of new and modernization of existing infrastructure. This is especially true for transport infrastructure due to the remoteness of the region.

There is still no universally accepted definition of Arctic tourism, despite the fact that the term itself is often used in official documents of the Russian Federation. So, in the “Strategy for the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation and ensuring national security for the period until 2020”, the development of “Arctic tourism, the expansion of environmentally friendly types of tourism activity in the Arctic, the improvement of regulatory support in the field of tourism, ˂ ... ˃ the promotion of Arctic tourism in national and international markets” is among the priority areas of the Russian Federation (Russian government, 2020). Most experts understand Arctic tourism as “visiting the Arctic for recreational, educational, sports, religious and other similar purposes that are not related to making a profit and working”. This definition was formulated on the basis of the definition of the concept of "tourism", but it seems quite logical.

It is obvious that the concept of Arctic tourism, which is under discussion, requires the involvement of professional professionals who have an idea not only about tourism, but also are well aware of the specifics of the Arctic region. The discussion of the concept of “Arctic tourism” allows future specialists in the field of international relations to note the peculiarities of different types of documentary sources and to formulate their own concept of “Arctic tourism”, reflecting international approaches and national traditions.

The uniqueness of the Arctic as a territory of tourism lies in the fact that there is an opportunity for the development of not only Arctic tourism as such, but also many other types of tourism: natural or ecological, sports or extreme, cultural, educational, ethnic, gastronomic, eventful. The Arctic has a very significant tourist attraction, which is based on its unique geographical location, natural and climatic features, rich wildlife, interesting cultural and natural heritage, and rich cultural traditions (Ayaydın & Akgönül, 2020; Gawor & Dolnicki, 2018; Olsen et al., 2020; Tervo-Kankare et al., 2018).

The harsh nature of the Arctic is a kind of tourist brand: icebergs, permafrost, polar night, tundra with its specific flora and fauna and, of course, one of the most beautiful natural phenomena - the northern lights. The opportunity to see these natural beauties form Arctic tourism. We can define main types of Arctic tourism:

  • One of the most promising types of modern tourism is ecotourism as a sustainable type of tourism, which is based on the responsible use of natural resources, ensuring the conservation of natural, social and cultural diversity and careful planning. In the modern sense, ecotourism is travel to natural areas that contribute to the conservation of nature and the maintenance of the quality of life of the local population (Nikolaeva et al., 2018).

  • Second type is cultural tourism. The rich cultural and natural heritage of the Arctic, numerous historical and cultural sites, have every chance to become the basis for the development of cultural and educational tourism in the region. Such objects, for example, include one of the largest centers of ancient rock art in Northern Europe. The archaeological complex "Kanozero Petroglyphs " is located in the Murmansk region and is the largest accumulation of petroglyphs throughout Europe. In the Russian Arctic there are several natural heritage sites protected by UNESCO. In 2010, the Putorana Plateau located in the northern part of Central Siberia, 100 km beyond the Arctic Circle, was inscribed in the World Heritage List. The plateau is a vast and practically unaffected by civilization basalt geological formation, towering in the north of Eastern Siberia a little north of the Arctic Circle. Its decoration is served by numerous waterfalls, including a 108 m high waterfall in the Kandy River Valley, one of the highest in Russia. The object was added to another important UNESCO program - World Heritage Forests.

The Arctic is also interesting for its intangible cultural heritage, distinctive folklore, and vibrant traditions that can become the basis for ethnographic tourism. For example, the folk heroic epic of the Yakuts “Olonkho” was recognized as a monument of the intangible heritage of UNESCO in 2005 as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of mankind.

The list of intangible cultural heritage is only being formed today, and it is especially valuable for Russia to take a worthy place in it. The intangible heritage of the Russian Federation is located in the Arctic region, which gives it special value and opens up new prospects for cooperation. Acquaintance with this topic is an appeal to relevant material in the field of international relations, which received regulatory and institutional design (Bogolyubova et al., 2019).

  • Thirdly, sports tourism. In addition to the development of natural, ecological tourism, the nature of the Arctic creates conditions for the development of sports tourism, the promotion of winter sports. The longer duration of the ski season compared to other regions of Russia serves as a significant competitive advantage for attracting tourists interested in skiing (Sisneros-Kidd et al., 2019).

Since 1994, the legendary mass ski run of the countries of the Barents Region "Friendship Ski" in the village of Rayakoski, Murmansk Region, has been held in the Russian Arctic. It involves more than 3,500 ski enthusiasts from Russia and the countries of Scandinavia. The uniqueness of the race lies in the fact that it is designed to “erase the borders”: once a year its participants ski on the territory of three countries: Russia, Norway and Finland without presenting passports and visas.

Today, without exaggeration, the largest and most famous international mega-sporting event in the Arctic is the Arctic Winter Games. This is a kind of “Arctic Olympics”, which has been leading the history since 1970. Representatives of the countries of the Circumpolar region participate in the Games: Greenland, Canada, Norway, USA, Finland, Sweden. Like the Olympics, the Arctic Winter Games have their own mascot, their own emblem, an opening and closing ceremony with a solemn procession of participants, a relay race (Nikolaeva et al., 2019).

The Games harmoniously combine the Olympic (summer and winter), non-Olympic and national sports of the indigenous peoples of the North, which are perhaps given the main place. This is the Arctic all-around (Inuit Games), and the so-called Dene games, and snowshoeing, and dog sled racing. A feature of the Games is significant attention to the cultural program, which is aimed to present the indigenous cultures of the Arctic: bone carving, national song traditions, epics and much more.

Despite the fact that while the Arctic Winter Games have never been held on the territory of the Russian Arctic, it should be noted the great prospects of this event for the development of Arctic tourism in our country. The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which represents Russia in these competitions, has applied for the first Russian Arctic Winter Games in 2024. If this event occurs, then, of course, it will become a good impetus for the further development of sports tourism in the Arctic region.

Along with multisport competitions in the Arctic, a number of status international tournaments in individual sports are held. Almost all of these competitions have a cultural program aimed at introducing and popularizing the culture of the indigenous peoples of the North, which makes them interesting not only for athletes, but also for tourists. Among them - the prestigious world championship "Arctic Curling Cup", which takes place in the city of Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk Territory. This is the only international curling tournament of such a high level, held beyond the Arctic Circle. The cultural program of the tournament includes visiting national summer cottages and being acquainted with local traditions, visiting the local history museum and “meeting” with a unique exhibit - the mammoth Zhenya, found in Taimyr in 2012 and became a sensation in science. Among the prestigious international competitions - the international tournament in ice hockey for the Arctic Cup, which is held among non-professional teams. Teams from 8 countries of the Arctic Council take part in it: Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, USA, Finland, Sweden.

Research Questions

This article puts the following research questions:

  • What is the reason for the growing popularity of Arctic tourism?

  • What types of tourism are now in the Russian Arctic?

  • What is the role of the tourism potential of the Arctic region in the formation of professional competencies of an international relations specialist?

  • What practical skills of an international specialist can help in developing Russian Arctic tourism?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to figure out the role of the touristic potential of the Arctic region in the development of international relations specialist skills. Researchers investigate how a specialist in international relations can help the Arctic development and improve his communicative skills implementing intercultural relations, research skills, negotiative skills etc.

The study aims to research the tourism in Arctic region as a driver for development of the region’s potential, both cultural and economic. Cultural heritage is one of the most important basis of international relations and the basis of Arctic tourism itself. The international relations specialist that knows precisely the regional cultural heritage sights will be able to benefit to the region in the best manner.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the article is a set of scientific methods that were applied for analysis of the development of the Arctic region and its influence on the international relations specialist.

General scientific methods of cognition were used: analysis, synthesis, analogy, comparison, description, generalization, typologization, as well as critical processing of empirical data.


For future international experts, the Arctic is a territory of international dialogue, which allows developing numerous professional competencies relating to both international tourism issues and the practical skills of an international specialist, the most important of which are:

  • The ability to understand the significance of culture as a form of human life and act with the principles of tolerance, dialogue and cooperation;

  • Respectful and careful attitude to the historical heritage and cultural traditions;

    • Willingness to use regulatory legal documents in their activities, to act in a civil society; - Ability to characterize the main international political institutions of the modern world;

  • The ability to fulfill the requirements of the regulatory framework in the field of future professional activities, including taking into account differences in the regulatory frameworks of different countries (Saarinen & Varnajot, 2019).

The study of ecological tourism in the Arctic, its geography, content, routes allows future international experts to be acquainted with the environmental agenda of the UN and other international organizations, the peculiarity of the organization of ecological tourism routes in different countries (Richard, 2018).

Sports relations are an important part of Arctic tourism and the basis of international sports tourism in the Arctic. On the Arctic material, future professionals have the opportunity to be acquainted with the peculiarity of organizing and conducting international sports competitions and develop their own sports tourist routes. Sport events reflect current trends in international relations: globalization, democratization of cultural exchange. Such a format is in demand and is aimed to solve political, economic, sociocultural problems. The Arctic region, of course, is a territory of mega-events that can have exceptional capabilities and a unique atmosphere, and also serve as a laboratory for the preparation of events of this scale and status. (Ilkevich & Stromberg, 2017)

We suggest some examples of case – study tasks for international relations students in the area of Arctic tourism:

1.Students should propose an object of Arctic cultural heritage into tangible UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list: represent an object of cultural heritage, assign criteria and comment on the need to include it in the List. Objects should be natural or man-made, the priority tasks in relation to which are their preservation and popularization due to special cultural, historical or environmental significance.

2.Students should propose an object of Arctic cultural heritage into intangible UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list: represent an object of cultural heritage, assign criteria and comment on the need to include it in the List. An intangible cultural heritage may include: oral traditions and forms of expression, including language as a carrier of intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; customs, ceremonies, festivities; knowledge and customs related to nature and the universe; knowledge and skills associated with traditional crafts.

3.Students should propose to perform some international mega-sport event in the Arctic region. It can be held yearly or once in several years, should include as many international participants as possible, have an extremely high level of media coverage and impact tourism and infrastructure. It can also be accompanied by some cultural event/festival.

4.Students should propose Arctic Tourism Strategy - a comprehensive analysis of the tourism opportunities of all the territories of the Arctic zone. It should contain plans of tourism development in the region, business activity plans in the territory, readiness of tourist infrastructure. The Strategy should include sets of measures to increase the transport accessibility of the region, the development of cruise shipping, the promotion of business investment in tourism, and the removal of a number of restrictions for foreigners. In addition, the document should identify priority tourist zones, the development of which in the short term will significantly increase tourist flow.


Therefore, summing up, we note that the cultural and natural potential of the Russian Arctic region as a unique territory for the development of tourism is underestimated. Meanwhile, here are concentrated natural and cultural wealth, unique cultural and natural objects that have not only national but also international significance. The problems of transport accessibility, the lack of serious advertising to promote Arctic tourism, seriously reduce the competitiveness of this territory for both Russians and foreign tourists. Work in these areas should become an important part of Russian policy and is of particular value for the overall development strategy of the Arctic. The Arctic region is a unique region of Russia, which can become a catalyst not only for the internal development of our country but can also provide its stronger positions in the world, in particular, in the protection of cultural and natural heritage, the development of new types of tourism.

The role of the Arctic region is to develop specialists of international relations and disclose their potential. International relations specialist are very important peaceful mediators between their peoples. They are not political scientists, they do not deal with party issues, interethnic and migratory issues, but they know and study them, their objects are peoples, states, regions.

International relations specialists are involved in the establishment, maintenance or regulation of international relations. Among the representatives of this profession are diplomats, translators, guides, consultants, managers. Each of them is in contact with different people, negotiating with heads or authorized representatives of various states. Translators, thanks to their knowledge of languages, establish a commonality between foreigners. They also provide expert opinions and hold consultations. All these competences can be easily developed in Arctics, while preparing international events (sport events, tourist events), preserving cultural heritage sights, preserving ecological sights, mentioned above.


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18 December 2020

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Egoreychenko, A., Nikolaeva, Y., Bogolyubova, N., & Portnyagina, M. (2020). Arctic Tourism Potential In Formation Of Professional Competencies Of International Relations Specialist. In O. D. Shipunova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future & Communicative Strategies of Information Society, vol 98. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 310-317). European Publisher.