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.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.