Action Area: Accessibility and Transportation Infrastucture


Improved accessibility and efficient transportation infrastucture are two central preconditions for tourism development. In this Action Plan accessibility is understood in terms of facilitating both virtual and physical access to tourism destinations on a global and local scale. The idea of accessibility refers to the effort of making tourism destinations accessible to travelers regardless of their physical limitations, disablities or age.

As the internet and social media play an important role in our society, tourism destinations need to work harder to enable travelers to easily access reliable and accurate information by using using information technology. In relation to mobility, accessibility also refers to the ability of travelers to reach a destination in a relatively safe, fast and reasonably comfortable way. A destination such as the Barents, which is not only geographically wide and dispersed but also far way from from large population centers, should be easy to get to and around.

Current Circumstances

There are already good practices among tourism destinations in the Barents concerning the use of information communication technologies and the dissemination of information through visitor centers. The Barents Region has also achieved a certain degree of integration at the level of transport connections.

  • A wide range of websites covering general information and news related to the Barents. Good examples of such sites are and
  • A large variety of websites providing information on destination in the Barents. Websites are available in different languages, English bein predominant.
  • Tourist Information Centers serving travelers across the different municipalities of the Barents.
  • Excellent railway connections in the southern parts of the Barents.
  • Upgrades in railway connections within the Barents Region are currently being planned and implemented.
  • Good north-south road networks offering access to remote northern areas. Especially, in Finland and Norway the maintenance of roads and other transportation infrastucture are managed rather well.
  • Continuous road improvements in northern Sweden and between Finland and Russia (e.g. Salla and Lotta). The road system between Murmansk (RU) and Kirkenes (NO) is under construction.
  • Existing Barents water ways are currently used for tourism purposes (e.g. Hurtigruten).
  • Schengen visa arrangement enabling fluent mobility to and between the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish municipalities of the Barents.
  • Special visa-free border-crossing agreement for Norwegians and Russians living close to the Norwegian and Russian border. 


Challenges and Development Needs

Despite the level of accessibility and the state of transportation infrastucture achieved in the Barents Regions, there is still room for improvement.

  •  Lack of an entity responsible for coordinating information resources about the Barents as a coherent tourism destination.
  • Absence of an integrated tourism website disseminating information on the Barents and assisting visitors before and during their visit ( advice, offerings, online bookings).
  • Lack of roadways, railways, air routes and bus connections in west-east direction.
  • Limited number of flight operators and air routes within the Barents Region, most air routes are in north-south direction.
  • Limited number of ferries and cruise ships operating within the waterways of the Barents Region.
  • High transport prices prevail in the Barents Region.
  • Poor road conditions and infrastructure, especially in the Russian municipalities of the Barents.
  • Lack of resting places, gas stations and other roadside facilities, especially along the Russian roadways of the Barents.
  • Poor border-crossing infrastructure and facilities in the Russian municipalities of the Barents.
  • Lack of adjustments of Barents tourism offerings for the needs of disabled travelers.
  • High level of bureaucracy and formalities for crossing the borders between the Schengen area and the Russian area of the Barents.
  • Complicated visa policies, long and complex application procedures, and expensive visas.