Tag Archives: tourism

HALF OF NORMAL TOURISM = TWICE AS NICE NOW: Average of 226 overnight visits in Svalbard this week is highest since September; numbers rise rapidly after COVID-19 test setback

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Chart by Visit Svalbard

An average of 226 overnight visitors are expected this week in Svalbard which, while scant in comparison to the 537 visitors in 2019 and 486 in 2020, is nonetheless the highest average since last September, according to Visit Svalbard.

‘CRIMINAL AND PUNISHABLE!’: Reception manager on COVID-19 infected Roald Amundsen quits, says Huritgruten put profits above crew and is ‘an organization controlled by fear mentality’

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Accusing Hurtigruten of “miserable ethical compliance,” a top manager on the cruise ship Roald Amundsen has resigned due to what he called “criminal and punishable” actions by the company regarding an outbreak of COVID-19 during two voyages to Svalbard last summer.

40M KR. MORE IN EMERGENCY COVID-19 AID FOR SVALBARD? Finance committee unanimously recommends tourism-oriented package to Parliament, which will consider it Tuesday

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In what might called an instance of the “Progress Party” living up to its literal name, a proposal by local members for an additional 40 million kroner in emergency COVID-19 aid for Svalbard tourism companies affected by the pandemic was unanimously approved by Parliament’s Finance Committee on Friday and is scheduled to be considered by the full body on Tuesday.

‘NO-TRAVEL’ ADVISORY FOR SVALBARD LIFTED, FREE COVID-19 TESTS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS: Ministry decision overrides health directorate on travel; details of free tests not specified

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An advisory to avoid recreational travel to and from Svalbard was lifted by Norway’s government Friday. Also, while a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure is still required to travel to the archipelago, the test will be available free to permanent residents – but the specifics are unlikely to be known before next week.

Numerous other restrictions applicable nationwide are still being upheld and/or modified, including stopping the sale of alcohol at restaurants and pubs at 10 p.m. rather than midnight.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Feb. 9, 2021

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Illustration of renovated Svalbardbutikken by Reactor AS

New portion of Svalbardbutikken scheduled to open in March, 40 percent of tourists cancel visits during first week after negative COVID-19 test is required to enter Svalbard and 20 applicants seek eight million kroner (although far less will be available) in the latest Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund grants.

ANOTHER YEAR OF CANCELLED CRUISES? Norway extends Svalbard ban – except small day trips – until May 1; AECO faces bankruptcy; Canada and Alaska seasons already nixed

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Photo of cruise in Fuglefjorden by Ilja Leo Lang / AECO.

Signs are increasingly bleak Svalbard will return to anything resembling a “normal” cruise ship season this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mutate and spread, but tourism officials are hoping vaccines will allow at least some of the season to be salvaged for the smaller “expedition” vessels that made limited sailings here last summer.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Feb. 2, 2021

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Svea loans 18-ton power supply to Svalbard Airport to cope with electrical system failure (above photo of power supply being unloaded in Longyearbyen courtesy of Avinor), 41 applications seek a share of 25 million kroner in emergency COVID-19 tourism aid and the city applies for funding for a pilot project to see if Longyearbyen’s electric cars can contribute to the town’s power grid.

QUICK COVID-19 TEST FOR SVALBARD NOW COSTS 550 KR.: Newly mandatory tests that were free in Tromsø now have a fee – but less than the 3,000 kr. some are charged in Oslo

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It’s no longer free as of Tuesday to get a quick COVID-19 test at the Tromsø airport for those needing the newly mandated negative test to travel to Svalbard, but the fee of 550 kroner being charged by the city is a far better bargain than the 1,300 being charged at Gardermoen Airport in Oslo (and up to 3,000 kroner elsewhere in the city).

Alas, the city-provided tests are only being offered at the airport through Sunday.

THE REAL DARK SEASON BEGINS (AGAIN): Surge of new COVID-19 cases and restrictions exposes outbreak of panicking travellers, layoffs and destitute businesses in Svalbard

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Scrambling to obtain a COVID-19 test newly mandated just hours before their flight home Friday was only the most immediate of the very painful and likely very lengthy consequences ahead.

A surge of new infections in Norway and globally is threatening economic decimation for many residents and businesses in Svalbard – again and more severely – for a second straight year just as the archipelago enters what should be peak tourism season as yet more travel restrictions were imposed late this week for the mainland and Svalbard.

At the same time, two major local tourism companies announced they’re temporarily laying off a total of 60 employees and a smaller independent company revealed its had only four guests since September.

TOURISTS QUARANTINED AT HOTEL: Visitors were in contact with COVID-19-infected person on mainland; all have tested negative and are asymptomatic so far

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A handful of visitors are being quarantined at a hotel in Longyearbyen due to their close contact with a COVID-19-infected person on the mainland before their arrival, according to Knut Selmer, the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen Hospital.

The tourists have tested negative so far, are asymptomatic and are near the end of the mandated 10-day quarantine period, Selmer told Svalbardposten, which first reported the situation Saturday morning.