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Daily Archives: 21. August 2020 − News & Stories


Tou­rism col­lapsing, new tra­vel rest­ric­tions

It is hard­ly sur­pri­sing: the tou­rism indus­try in Spits­ber­gen has lar­ge­ly col­lap­sed and the­re is hard­ly any light on the hori­zon, as recent infec­tion rates give the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment reason to put tra­vel rest­ric­tions on tou­rists from more and more Euro­pean count­ries. Accor­ding to available tax sta­tis­tics ana­ly­zed by Sval­bard­pos­ten, 51 Lon­gye­ar­by­en com­pa­nies have altog­e­ther lost a sales volu­me of 170 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an kro­ner (about 17 mil­li­on Euro or 19 mil­li­on US-$) during the months from April to May, com­pared to the same peri­od in 2019 – and this does not even include some major play­ers such as Hur­tig­ru­ten Sval­bard, the big­gest sup­pli­er of tou­rism-rela­ted ser­vices in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The real num­bers will, thus, be much hig­her and cer­tain­ly devas­ta­ting. During the same peri­od, local com­pa­nies have recei­ved 16 mil­li­on kro­ner as public sup­port, less than 10 per­cent of the tur­no­ver loss.

Shopping Lompensenter Longyearbyen

Shop­ping in Lom­pen­sen­ter in Lon­gye­ar­by­en: not much fun wit­hout tou­rists.

And the num­bers of tou­rists keep drop­ping, alt­hough the­re have obvious­ly never been many this year. Last week, the hotels in Lon­gye­ar­by­en had just 178 over­night guests per night in avera­ge. Offi­ci­al­ly, Lon­gye­ar­by­en has lost 96 inha­bi­tants sin­ce the begin­ning of the coro­na cri­sis – and again, real life is much worse as the sta­tis­tics are any­thing but com­ple­te. They do, for exam­p­le, not include the lar­ge num­ber of sea­so­nal workers who come during the tou­rist sea­son. This year, many of the­se have lost their jobs ear­ly in the cri­sis, while others did not come at all.

At the same time, the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment intro­du­ces tra­vel rest­ric­tions for tou­rists from even more Euro­pean count­ries. “Red” count­ries curr­ent­ly have too high infec­tion rates, while data for tho­se shown with hachu­re is incom­ple­te or dee­med unre­lia­ble by the Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties. In eit­her case, tou­rists from the­se count­ries will have to stay in 10 days qua­ran­ti­ne upon ente­ring Nor­way. The map shown here, published by the Nor­we­gi­an health aut­ho­ri­ty (Fol­ke­hels­e­insti­tutt), will be in force from 22 August.

Norwegian Corona-map published 19 August 2020

Nor­we­gi­an Coro­na-map published on 19 August 2020 (in force from 22 August).
© Fol­ke­hels­e­insti­tuttet.

So far, no cases of coro­na infec­tions or Covid-19 dise­a­se are known from Svalbard’s sett­le­ments.

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