According to The Russian Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) the Norwegian hotels on Svalbard are visited by nearly 80.000 people every year, with an annual growth of 10 percent over the last years. Meanwhile, the Russian settlements of Barentsburg and Piramida draw less than 2500 people annually. The reason for this is the lack of infrastructure and tourist services, Rostourizm believes.
The agency is now searching for a contractor to analyze the market for tourism to the Russian parts of the Arctic archipelago and to develop a brand for the destination. Rosturizm pays 450.000 rubles (€11.300) for the job.
Russian experts on tourism question the profitability of developing tourism in Barentsburg. “From a business point of view, this is not promising at all”, says Maya Lomidze in the Association of Russian tour operators. “It is not clear, how people are supposed to get to that place or how they will move around. Only a certain type of people would go there and the tourist season is very short. I don’t think they will find enough money to solve all the problems with infrastructure”, she says to Izvestia.
There are some 400 Russians living on Svalbard, which has a total population of approximately 2700. Most of the Russians are employed in the state company Arktikugol’s coal mines.
The Murmansk Economic Zone was presented as a miracle cure for regional development and as key facility for the Shtokman project. Today, five years on, regional authorities put their faith in the fish industry.
Renowned Norwegian actress Gørild Mauseth is in the leading role when actors and producers from the Gorky Dramatic Theatre in Vladivostok come to Harstad to present a unique version of Tolsoy’s classic play Anna Karenina.
Nuclear safety projects in the Murmansk region wouldn’t be the same without her contribution. Finnish European Parliament Member Heidi Hautala is today one of 89 Europeans barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.
Wistleblower Edward Snowden is winner of this year’s recognized Bjørnson Award, but Norwegian authorities are unlikely to guarantee his safe travel to the award ceremony. The former CIA employee should instead be handed over the award in Pechenga, the Russian borderlands to Norway, a Norwegian university lecturer suggests.