ARCTIC TOURISTS

At about 1000 kilometres from the North Pole lies Svalbard. This land has been part of Norway since the 1920s treaty which gave signatory states the right to engage in exploitation of local resources. British, Russian, Swedish and Dutch companies had been extracting coal there for decades, and the industry kept running throughout the 1900s. Approaching the new millennium and amid environmental concerns, Norway is aiming at shutting down many coal mines on Svalbard. The same threatened environment Norway is trying to protect from climate change is attracting more and more visitors—around 30.000 tourists come to Svalbard each year, charmed by the arctic landscapes and fauna of polar bears. The Arctic is vulnerable to climate change since the area temperature increases at twice the global rate and Arctic tourism is now a growing factor for the Svalbard economy.