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Article

Geopolitics and tourism in the Arctic: the case of the national park ‘Russian Arctic’

The role of the Arctic on the global geopolitical arena rose during the Cold War. With time, political rivalry gave the way to regional cooperation, but the Arctic remains a highly politicized area. In the twenty-first century, Arctic states waded into the ‘Arctic Rush’ for natural resources and political supremacy. Their geopolitical interests affect significantly the development of Arctic tourism. At present, the Arctic is in the foreground of Russian political agenda. It resulted in the rising interest in Arctic tourism as a means of promoting strategic and economic value of the Arctic. Current paper focuses on the case of the National Park ‘Russian Arctic’. Based on expert interviews, the results of the study reveal how political circumstances influence Arctic tourism development. Four aspects related to political context were identified: increased militarization, access restrictions, political tensions between Russia and global community, and interest of non-Arctic players in the region’s potential.