STOCKHOLM, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The Norwegian government said Monday that it would restrict travel to Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean to protect the vulnerable natural environment there, according to reports reaching here from Oslo.
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, between Norway and the North Pole. Cruise traffic to the islands has increased tenfold in just a few years and this summer more than 30,000 tourists will also visit there.
"We must restrict the traffic to Svalbard because the eastern part of the archipelago is one of the most vulnerable nature in the world," Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.
The Norwegian environmental protection authorities have decided that most of Eastern Svalbard would be closed to tourists, apart from a few chosen spots, where tourists will be allowed to land, the NRK said.