Tag Archives: Espen Rotevatn

‘Gotten scary’: Profits from tourism’s huge rise comes w/ huge pains in housing shortages, work conditions and disruptions

masstourism

Complaints of disruptive behavior by tour companies and individual tourists at all hours and during all months. Workers being forced to leave because the proliferation of AirBnb rentals means they can’t find housing. Guides considering unionizing due to what they call abusive take-it-or-leave it contracts.

The rapid rise of mass tourism is a problem being felt across Europe and beyond, with the deluge of visitors appreciative of an area’s beauty stirring up a rapid and ugly rise of hostile feelings among people living there. But as with many things, the situation in Longyearbyen is occurring in unique and extreme ways due to a staggeringly rapid change that has seen several hundred coal mining jobs replaced by tourism workers during the past few years.

Random weirdness for the week of April 19, 2016

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Svalbard Church Priest Leif Magne Helgesen, who famous in this space for some of the naughtiest photos we’ve ever published  (and that’s saying something), found a whole new way to be bad this week with a snowmobile streering selfie posted on his Facebook page that suggests a bit of, um, faithful navigation. “I do not think this is accepted as a dignified execution of the Traffic Safety Act,” wrote former Svalbard Lt. Gov. Jens Olaf Saether, using a devilish emoticon as punctuation. Of course, being a still photo there’s no actual proof of a moving violation and since he lived to post it apparently his boss didn’t blow a gasket over it…

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 8, 2016

svalbardbooze

City leaders don’t know how much alcohol is consumed
Politicians in Longyearbyen say total consumption of alcohol should be reduced, but don’t know how much is being sold.

Stinky on stage: Year in revue follows Longyearbyen’s tragicomic shift from a sooty town to a smelly one

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Given all the fishy business in Longyearbyen during the past year, locals are ready to shake the coal dust from their boots and put their faith in cod.

Miners, politicians and others raised a bit of a stink about transitioning from a sooty town to a smelly one, but ultimately agreed our 100-year-old cornerstone conglomerate needs to embrace a new identity as “Store Torske.”

And with that one-letter revision to The Floundering Company Formerly Known As Store Norske, the local chums cast out on a whale of a job baiting their fellow townsfolk during the annual revue showing just how flaky the past year was Friday night at Huset.

Tour disaster: Visitors flocking to avalanche wreckage leaves some residents cold

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Espen Rotevatn is grateful he can still go to his undamaged home, just below the wreckage of 11 others destroyed by last month’s avalanche, at the end of the day. He just wishes visitors weren’t there with cameras and expecting him to play the role of tour guide.

Golden opportunity or fool’s gold? Some want rejected ideas to be considered again as remedy to coal crisis

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While the government is taking longer than locals want to make a seemingly simple  yes/no decision about Store Norske’s mining future, some leaders are making late pushes for alternatives involving industries and projects previously considered undesirable or unworkable.

Sun picks wrong ‘eclipse’ day

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Left out of the light, revelers resorted to a “(s)he’s naked under those clothes” attitude on what’s supposed to be one of Svalbard’s brightest days each year.

“The sun is up there somewhere,” said Henrik Rasmussen, one of the two emcees at Sunday’s ceremony intended to welcome the first of sunlight to shine on Longyearbyen in four months.