Tag Archives: tourism

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.

DOING THE WAVE: Locals and passengers up early to greet each other from far and near as first large cruise ship of year arrives

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Carsten Wuenscher, 41, knew nothing about Svalbard before arriving Wednesday morning, but clearly was eager to start learning as he was the first to disembark from the 2,100-passenger AIDAluna after it became the first large cruise ship to dock here this year. 

Behaving badly near bears: Governor considers access restrictions due to high snowmobile traffic disrupting wildlife

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Imposing access restrictions on popular fjords where numerous polar bears have been observed is being considered by The Governor of Svalbard due to high numbers of snowmobilers, some of whom are violating rules prohibiting disturbing the animals.

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

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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.