Tag Archives: tourism

25M KR. IN COVID-19 TOURISM AID FOR SVALBARD: Norway’s government OK’s extra funds to help devastated industry

svalbardtourismaid

After months of pleas from Longyearbyen tourism companies, many saying they are weeks from bankruptcy, Norway’s government on Thursday announced it is providing an extra 25 million kroner in COVID-19 crisis aid to Svalbard through a program it hopes will be in place by the end of the year.

BIG HOTEL SALE: Hurtigruten may sell its three lodges and other Svalbard properties, joining Mary Ann’s Polarrigg and Svalbar as notable tourism businesses on the market

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Update 2:45 p.m.: Store Norske is among the companies interested in buying Hurtigruten’s local operations, according to reports.

Original story: A huge sale at local hotels and other tourism businesses is in the making as the crippling economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, as Hurtigruten announced Tuesday is it considering selling or entering a partnership for its three hotels and other land-based properties in Svalbard.

The announcement comes as at least two other notable tourism-oriented businesses, Mary Ann’s Polarrigg and Svalbar, are also up for sale. However, plans for those sales were underway before the pandemic and Hurtigruten noted their exploratory efforts “may or may not result in a transaction.”

LOTS OF HELP – BUT TOO LATE FOR SOME? Government proposing 25M kr. in COVID-19 aid for tourism companies in Svalbard, but some said this summer help needed before fall

industryminister

The Norwegian government is proposing a supplemental 25 million kroner in assistance for tourism companies in Svalbard due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to previously-approved crisis aid targeted toward businesses, the Ministry of Trade and Industry announced Monday.

LAID OFF AND LEAVING? Here’s an awesome alternative to ‘travel home’ grants – luxury cruise ship stuck here for weeks needs 60 crew for two-month voyage east to Hawaii by Monday

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A French luxury cruise ship stuck in Longyearbyen for weeks due to COVID-19 issues is suddenly in need of finding 60 crew members with tourism skills for a nearly two-month voyage east to Russia, Japan and Hawaii – that begins on Monday.

Gee, wonder if there’s anyone here with both the perfect skills and motive able to keep the company from having to seek out people not on Norway’s virus “red list” and fly them here?

‘WE NEED CONCRETE ACTIONS, NOT GOOD THOUGHTS’: Two key ministers visit Svalbard during two-week period, but pleas for immediate help coming up short as they focus on fall plans

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The pleas by local political and business leaders for additional immediate help due to the crippling economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t getting much traction, but with one top minister just completing a visit to Longyearbyen and another minister scheduled to come soon at least they’re listening as the Norwegian government assesses measures to help distressed communities this fall.

COVID-19 cases from Roald Amundsen rises to 53; French luxury ship continuing Svalbard cruises beginning this weekend; trade minister discusses tourism crisis during visit

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All cruise ships with more than 100 people may be banned, but a French company is still planning to dock a “luxury” ship in Longyearbyen this weekend and advertising a subsequent voyage later this month.

Compagnie du Ponant’s Le Boréal, with a capacity for 140 crew and 250 passengers, is the only expedition cruise ship now traveling in the archipelago and is scheduled to arrive at Longyearbyen Harbor on Saturday. Because the voyage started before the new nationwide limit was imposed Monday there are more than 100 people board, but the passengers are being allowed to disembark for their plane trip home because there are no diagnosed COVID-19 cases on the ship, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

CLOUDY COMPLICATIONS: Several days of fog in Longyearbyen results in multitude of cancelled flights, heightened problems with polar bears making repeat visits near town

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Dense fog in Longyearbyen the past several days has resulted in several cancelled flights during a crippled tourism season (now including the loss of cruises due to COVID-19 outbreak on one), plus an inability to detect and monitor polars visiting populated areas near Longyearbyen, according to officials and media reports.

‘COVER-UP’ OF COVID-19 OUTBREAK: E-mails show Hurtigruten ‘doesn’t want this to come out’; local tourism officials worry alarm about Svalbard resulting from incomplete media coverage

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An e-mail declaring ““Hurtigruten doesn’t want this to come out, they want to have control of this themselves,” regarding COVID-19 infections aboard the Roald Amundsen is among the evidence escalating accusations against the company about its handling of the situation to new levels, as authorities and Norwegian media pursue an increasing list of violations involving its employees.

The outbreak resulted in Norway cancelling all cruise ships carrying more than 100 people for two weeks and global alarm about cruise tourism resuming during the pandemic. It is also heightening the already immense concern about Svalbard’s tourism, with local leaders saying the vast international media coverage mentioning the archipelago is omitting the fact the area remains free of known cases and the infected ship did not making any port stops while here.

COVID-19 outbreak on Roald Amundsen revives global cruising fears; Hurtigurten stops all voyages due to ‘internal procedures’ failures, police and health officials investigating

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The COVID-19 outbreak aboard Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen voyaging in Svalbard the latter of half of  July that as of Monday has infected at least 40 crew and passengers, and put nearly 400 more under quarantine orders, is reviving fears of the virus locally – but spreading even more ill feeling globally about cruise liners resuming their voyages.

Hurtigruten, facing a barrage of hindsight criticism, announced Monday it is halting all expedition sailings until further notice due to “failure in several of our internal procedures.” Norwegian police and health agencies also announced they are investigating the company’s actions.

SVALBARD REOPENS TO EU/EEA COUNTRIES – WITH LIMITS: Travel to/from Norway w/out quarantine OK as of July 15; some countries still banned; other exemptions/restrictions apply

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Norway is reopening its borders to many residents of EU/EEA countries on July 15, but keeping them closed to several countries with high rates of COVID-19 infections and most residents of other countries worldwide, the government announced Friday.

However, officials in Svalbard are continuing to emphasize prospective visitors should exercise extreme caution in whether to visit this summer – and suggesting those in high-risk groups avoid doing so this year – even though the archipelago continues to suffer devastating economic impacts as summer tourism is only expected to be about 20 percent of that in recent years.