Tourism and recreation
Franz Josef Land
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Kudenko

Direct cruises for foreigners to Franz Josef Land to begin in September

Direct cruises for foreigners to the Russian Franz Josef Land archipelago in the Arctic will begin this September, TASS reported quoting Head of the Federal Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov.

"In September, several cruises will set out to Franz Josef Land while an estimated 80,000 tourists, primarily foreigners, are expected to visit the archipelago every year," Safonov said. He added that his agency had worked for more than a year to make sure that foreign cruise ships could sail directly to the archipelago without undergoing border checks in mainland Russia.

In its earlier reports TASS quoted Director of Russian Arctic National Park Roman Yershov as saying that the opening of a maritime checkpoint on the archipelago is likely to shorten the travel time of cruise ships sailing along the transit route from Spitzbergen to Franz Josef Land by three days without stopping off at Murmansk. "This will be a breakthrough in opening up Franz Josef Land to tourists," Yershov said.