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Getting more cruise money

"There is every reason to wave the flag for this year's cruise season. Now we are planning for next year to be even better,"says Eva Britt Kornfeld. FOTO: Ole Magnus Rapp

Getting more cruise money

The tourism industry is pleased with this year's cruise season and is making plans for next year to be even better

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Tourists who arrived by cruise ship spent an average of 937 kroner per day in Longyearbyen this year. In addition, shipowners also pay for harbor fees, electricity, water and supplies, as well as a 150-kroner per-passenger fee that goes to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund.

The goal was for each passenger to leave behind 1,000 kroner and the business community believes that will happen next summer. Cruise passengers spend an average of 912 kroner per day on the mainland.

30 member companies

"There was just over 31.2 million kroner left behind in direct spending," said Eva Britt Kornfeldt, head of the Svalbard Cruise Network. The organization has about 30 member companies, and its mission is to ensure visitors on overseas cruise ships have an enjoyable stay and spend money.

The company Menon Economics has conducted a survey commissioned by the Norwegian Coastal Administration to learn more about the expectations and requirements of cruise passengers. The results are now complete, but Kornfeldt said she and her staff will familiarize themselves with the conclusions first and then consider the various aspects of the report before revealing the results.

"Now we have numbers about their satisfaction and interest in coming back," she said. "This is nice reading and we shall ensure that the population of Longyearbyen are told this once we have gone through the results."

Longyearbyen's many tour companies were well prepared for the cruise season with a range of complete packages ready. They ranged from dog sledding with carriages to fossil hunting to museum visits.

To the center
"It's nice to bring guests to the harbor," Kornfeldt said. "But getting tourists from Bykaia and into town is extremely important. This is where they have the opportunity to leave behind money."

She said she also believes the number of guests opting for commercial activities should be higher. Beyond that, she said she is pleased with industry's and community's follow-up.

"Shops and museums have been open when the ships call," Kornfeldt said. "We also get feedback that they are being provided with employees who speak the language of the majority of passenger on board."

Good atmosphere
Kornfeldt said she's also pleased with the attitude of the locals, who both participated in a clean-up project before the first port call and provided a good atmosphere when they lined up with flags when the first ship docked this sumer.

The most popular activities are bus tours with visits to museums, galleries and the dog kennels; boat trips to Isfjorden; and various wilderness adventures such as dog sledding with carriages and fossil hunting. Activities generally end up at the town's pedestrian street, where shops "take over" guests.

There were 34 overseas cruise ship calls during a hectic period in June, July and August. The largest was the MSC Splendida with 3,900 passengers plus crew. A total of 41,614 passengers came ashore, as well as many of the crew members. Indicator suggest about the same number of ships will come next year starting with the first port call June 1.

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