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Abstract


Viken, A; Jorgensen, F. "Tourism on Svalbard," Polar Record, 1998, 34:189 (April), 123-128.

This article gives an overview of tourism on Svalbard. Tourism to this archipelago, which is under the jurisdiction of Norway, started more than 100 years ago. As a modern industry, however, the end of 1980s can be seen as the starting period. Since 1990, tourism development has been given priority by the Norwegian government, and there has been a significant increase both in commercial activities and in the number of tourists. Early and recent tourism developments are presented. In 1996 tourism accounted for almost 200 jobs, 48,000 commercial overnights, around 12,000 airborne tourists, and between 15,000 and 20,000 cruise-ship passengers. The article then describes the most frequent types of tourists, and discusses tourism's impact on the environment. So far, tourism has not produced many documented problems on biota and heritage. Tourism regulation on Svalbard is also described, showing a multitude of means and arrangements, including a proactive self-regulation by the tourism industry. The future challenges, particularly the questions connected to the limits of volume, are discussed. There is a broad understanding of the need of an active policy from the authorities to cope with these questions. The article concludes by referring to the increased emphasis on environmental questions in the Norwegian politics concerning Svalbard, which probably also indicates a willingness to intervene with tourism development.



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