Build the walls! (And they’ll pay for it): Hurtigruten Svalbard planning 200M in hotel, recreation facility upgrades

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Svalbard’s largest tourism company, which has already upgraded its main hotels and added new lodging during the past few years, is now planning a record 200-million-kroner expansion and upgrade of its facilities in anticipation of a major increase in tourism in Longyearbyen in the near future.

funken
A planned upgrade of a lounge area at Spitsbergen Hotel is shown in an artist’s rendition. The hotel will also be renamed Funken Lodge, thereby giving officially giving it a name that has been in popular use for years. Illustration courtesy of Hurtigruten Svalbard.

“This is the largest tourism investment ever in Svalbard,” Hurtigruten Svalbard Managing Director Daniel Skjeldam said in a prepared statement. “For Hurtigruten it is an investment in the future. It will not offer any short-term profit. But it will help to elevate quality and ensure sustainable growth of tourism in Svalbard.”

The planned projects include:

• Radisson Polar Blu Hotel: Up to 100 new rooms and suites, a complete overall of the lobby and restaurant areas, a new conference center, and new bar and lounge areas.

• Spitsbergen Hotel (a.k.a. Funken): Will be renamed Funken Lodge and feature new rooms, and a renovated restaurant and public areas.

• Ingeniør G. Paulsen: The center for snowmobile and other recreational activities will be rennovated inside and out with a more modern design and facilities.

igp
A planned upgrade to Ingeniør G Paulsen will renovate both the interior and exterior. Illustration courtesy of Hurtigruten Svalbard.

“Hurtigruten’s commitment will also ensure local value creation, local jobs and continued Norwegian activity in Svalbard,” Skjeldam said. “At the same time, we are agreeing to preserve valuable polar competence skills that Norway has built up for generations.”

Government and business leaders have stated they want to double tourism revenue – which may mean tripling the number of visitors – in Svalbard to help replace lost coal mining jobs. Mining jobs accounted for about 40 percent of Longyearbyen’s workforce about a decade ago, with tourism accounting for 15 percent, but those numbers essentially switched places during the past year as most major mining operations were put on hold.

One of the mines, Svea, is now being used as a tourist site by Svea Svalbard, a joint venture formed last fall by Hurtigruten and Store Norske that hopes to eventually offer overnight stays and a full range of recreational activities.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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