With the recent crash of coal prices, Norway has suspended most of its mining in Svalbard and turned to tourism and scientific research in the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen. Russia has not followed suit in Barentsburg. There, Moscow continues to subsidize coal mining for strategic geopolitical reasons while fostering a fledgling tourism company, Arctic Travel Company Grumant, which depends heavily on the annual peak of tourists in March and April. Read my interview with Barentsburg’s tourism manager Sergey Shirokiy for a close look at the town’s tourism prospects.
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