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Home → May, 2011

Monthly Archives: May 2011 − News & Stories


Problems with online booking system

The online booking system of the associaction of local tour operators in Longyearbyen has recently been upgraded, but does not work as expected. As a result, especially small companies have experienced losses of 60-70%, in one case up to 95%. Some are afraid of serious consequences for the future of their companies, often run by only one person, whose economical survival in some cases depended on taking external paid jobs.

Major suppliers, who enjoy better visibility on the market also through other channels, are faced with comparatively minor problems.

The tour operator’s society, lead by the director of the largest local player, rejects criticism and makes the supplier of the software responsible. It is also said that not all of the smaller companies have made their homework during the process.

Bigger operators who own hotels in Longyearbyen may benefit from the problems with the online booking system.

Problems with online booking system - Polar Hostel

Source: Svalbardposten 6/2011

Huge demand for Longyearbyen-coal

The annual coal production in mine 7 near Longyearbyen is near 75,000 tons, of which 50,000 are exported, mainly to the German market. The quality of the coal makes it a sought-after resource in the metallurgic industry. In May, German companies even chartered an additional coal freighter and time-consuming shipping operations despite of a pier and coal crane that were damaged during a winter storm, to get in extra coal.

Mine chef Håvard Dyrkolbotn was quoted saying „without coal from mine 7, no Mercedes on the market.“

Equipment near mine 7.

Huge demand for Longyearbyen-coal - Gruve 7

Source: Svalbardposten 6/2011

Polar bear denning sites on Kong Karls Land

During 4 weeks of field work on the island of Kongsøya that belongs to Kong Karls Land in the far east of Spitsbergen, field workers counted at least 13 dens where female polar bears had given birth to their offspring a few months earlier. In 2009, at least 25 dens were found. The lower numbers of 2011 were expected and are explained with the ice-free waters that surrounded Kong Karls Land in late 2010, making the little archipelago more difficult to reach for the bears. It is not known if the pregnant bears went to alternative sites elsewhere.

Kong Karls Land is one of the most important denning areas for polar bears in the whole arctic and may only be visited with special permission.

Kong Karls Land in drift ice.

Polar bear denning sites on Kong Karls Land

Source: Norwegian polar institute

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