Tag Archives: tourism

Taking the wild away from wildlife: Governor may close popular snowmobile areas again due to polar bear, seal disruptions

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Tip: If you’re trying to avoid disturbing polar bears they flee if they sense snowmobiles three kilometers away. If you’re not trying to avoid disturbing them you’re the reason a travel ban in areas they frequent is being considered this spring that may have profound consequences for tourism and expeditions.

Random weirdness for the week of Jan. 15, 2019

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“Polar bear leaps onto a Russian nuclear submarine on the search for food after the crew dumped bags of rubbish into the Arctic.” And with that headline we’re off and running with an item that’s a perfect polar trifecta of weirdness.

Ultimate penalty: Russian tour company fined 150,000 kr. for 2017 snowmobile tour accident on sea ice that killed guide

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A Russian tour company whose guides failed to properly evaluate sea ice conditions, resulting in an accident where nine snowmobiles fell through the ice and a guide was killed, has been fined 150,000 kroner, The Governor of Svalbard announced Thursday.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Nov. 27, 2018

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Mine 7 sees record income a year after other Store Norske mining ceases
A year ago Store Norske shut down nearly all of its coal mining operations, but the relatively small-scale production continuing at Mine 7 experienced a record year by achieving the first “real surplus” in the mine’s 52-year history.

Tracking the attack: Bear that attacked cruise worker was skeletal, expert says; signs of its presence on beach should have been obvious, researchers who saw it the day before say

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The cruise ship wasn’t trying to bring tourists ashore to look at a polar bear. The uneven landscape of the beach meant the animal could have been out of sight a short distance away – but a whale carcass and lots of bear tracks should have been a dead giveaway. The crew tried to scare the bear away before being forced to kill it. An expert researcher says it appears the bear was very thin.

A few more details were released Monday by officials and a lot more criticism was expressed –including from celebrities and other prominent people worldwide – about a polar bear that was fatally shot after attacking a cruise ship crew member in northern Svalbard on Saturday.

Fatally flawed: Polar bear attack on cruise ship employee revives debate about tourism in Svalbard’s remote areas

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The injured cruise ship crew member is recovering and the polar bear inflicting the wounds is dead after being shot, but the attacks resulting from the encounter are just beginning.

Bipolar disorder: Record cruise crowds bring riches, but also complaints of intrusive behavior toward kids, cabin dwellers, wildlife

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An “invasion” of cabins and a kindergarten. Attacking birds and petting reindeer. Treating everywhere outdoors as a port-a-potty and digging up wild plants to take home.

The increasing intensity and frequency of such complaints about cruise ship passengers – especially when larger ships can mean up to 8,000 extra people in a 2,000-person town – aren’t just local vs. visitor feuds. Often they’re pitting local against local, with the pro-cruise folks arguing the complaints are about a relative handful of visitors, but can result in a generally negative attitude toward all of them.

Dialing Svalbard up to 11: Youth wows locals with years of book knowledge prior to visit, but discovers reality is so much more

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(Editor’s note: This youth was sent to me by someone at Visit Svalbard who was wowed by his knowledge of Svalbard – no small thing given the number of tourists the office sees – but after talking to him I was more interested in how his “book knowledge” (videos, website resources, etc.) compared to the “real education” of being here. These are his impressions with only minor edits for grammar and other tidbits.)

Was it good for them? 6,000-person cruise ship might be tight fit for locals, but visitors say they had a peak experience

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Eric Pireyn said his family arrived without pre-booking a tour, but managed to rent a car and take a full driving tour that included spotting a polar fox near the campsite (which his eight-year-old daughter Anna called the day’s high point). She and her sister Nina, 5, were wearing “husky head” fur hats they bought during the day as they headed back to a cruise ship towering above the buildings in town around dinnertime.

Blown away: Biggest cruise ship ever in Longyearbyen makes huge waves for stores, tours – but strong winds nearly kept it from docking

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As expected, the biggest cruise ship to ever dock in Longyearbyen meant a day of big crowds, big sales and big discussions. But another big – the wind – nearly made things very small.