Tourism as an economy changing factor – case study of Svalbard.

Lead Author Agnieszka, Legutko
Institution Contact Cracow University of Economics Address to contact with author: Wroclawska 66/13 30-017 Cracow Poland
Theme Theme 5: New Markets for the Arctic, including Trade, Tourism and Transportation
Session Name 5.2 Arctic Tourism: The interplay between supply and demand, culture and environment
Datetime Thu, Sep 15, 2016 11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Arctic has attracted people for centuries. Polar tourism has its roots in 19th century when first trappers started to organize expeditions. It developed to mass tourism thanks to steamships and later due to a better technologies turn into longer season and higher latitudes. Nowadays, Arctic is more and more promoted, open and reachable too. Growth of interest with this area is a combination of numerous factors such as environment, politics, cultures and economics as well. At the beginning of 21st century, demand in the polar tourism has peaked. Variety of available options from luxury cruise ships up to small ecotourism expeditions are possible.
Development of this industry is often a blessing – a simply good business opportunity for communities that struggles with an unemployment and remoteness. On the other hand, many negative impacts are recognized in the discussion.
The aim of the following paper is to discuss changes in Svalbard economy due to growing tourism market for a specific economic structure of the archipelago. Author starts with short presentation of historical changes – from hunters and whalers, throughout boast in coal industry up to current situation when tourism and research take lead.
The changes that occurs due to the growing number of tourists such as rebuilding cities, developing infrastructure and new initiatives in small business are discussed. Paper differentiates tourist groups and its activities. It presents economic data considering growth of the region, population and income changes and its influence on inhabitants and environment.
Thanks to combining both quantitate analysis and empirical data gathered during author’s research in Spitsbergen in summer 2015, paper answers research question what are the benefits and cost of growing tourism in Svalbard and how does it affect archipelago economy.
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