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114 dogs river impatient in chains in the dog yard a few kilometers outside Longyearbyen. But not today, they go out on a trip with tourists in the sled.
Koronaviruset has put a sudden stop of the tourist industry on Svalbard. All the tourists were soon two weeks ago ordered away from the islands in order to avoid infection. Now the hotels were closed. Outside skuterutleierne are several hundred nedsnødde vehicles.
Mia Willmann and her husband Audun Salt in Svalbard Husky disappeared orders for 700 000 crowns in a snap. March and april are usually the peak season for tourist enterprise, which last year had a turnover of nearly five million.
Now the seven employees laid off. At the same time, the running costs great, for the dogs still need feed, vaccines and equipment.
– We can’t just shut the plant down. We have 114 dogs were used to pull who need food, attention and exercise. We are not allowed to let the dogs stand in the chain without daily activity. So we must continue to drive, even though we don’t have guests, ” says Willmann.
She estimates the monthly expenses to around 150 000.
Mia Wallmann and her husband operates the Svalbard Husky at the entrance to the valley todalen outside Longyearbyen. They took over the company in January 2018.
Photo: Marcus Krogtoft / NRK
Tuesday was kriseplaner discussed with the board of directors. To keep his head above water is likely to be the company to search the bank about liquidity loans. At the same time they hope on krisepakke from the government.
Gets the summer normal, think Mia Willmann that the Svalbard Husky will be able to survive. But in the worst case they need to get rid of the dogs, either by selling them, giving them away or euthanize them.
– This is the family members that we love. To go down in the number of dogs, therefore, is the absolute last resort to save what we have, ” says Willmann.
Tommy Jordbrudal driver Arctic Husky Travellers. He fears there will only be major tourist agencies and enterprises for koronakrisen.
Photo: Ella Pellegrini Fears that only the biggest survive
Also for Tommy Jordbrudal in the Arctic Husky Travellers, it was the sudden stop of the night.
Actually, he was, three employees and the 55 dogs fully booked until June. Instead, they have last few days gone with to refund the orders for many hundred thousand money.
– we don’t Get help, we must reduce the number of animals. It will be cruel and unfair, ” says Jordbrudal.
He is afraid that it is only the large tourist agencies and enterprises again on Svalbard after koronakrisen, i.e. those who have several legs to stand on.
Has been reported to the array
According to Visit Svalbard is more than 90 per cent of the employees in the tourism industry in Svalbard is now laid off. The organization has around 75 member companies, and already has one business given up as a result of the koronakrisen, informs the chairman of the board Ronny Strømnes.
In the previous week introduced the government with a time-limited stønadsordning for foreign workers on the islands.
But Strømsnes believes there is a need for more. He puts their trust in the government as soon as possible come with krisepakker to help the business community on Svalbard.
Also Mia Wallmann in Svalbard Husky hope a krisepakke for the travel and tourism industry is just about the corner.
March and april are usually the peak season for Svalbard Husky, which in 2019 traded for closer to five million.
Photo: Marcus Krogtoft
We hope first and foremost to get help with the expenses we have to dog food. We live on Svalbard, and the shipping here is extremely expensive. We also hope to get help with the costs of keeping the dogs in the activity, since it is required by law, ” says Willmann.
According to the department of Justice considers the government to ongoing action that will remedy the situation on Svalbard further.
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