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The Commencement of Regular Arctic Cruise Ship Tourism: Wilhelm Bade and the "Nordische Hochseefischerei Gesellschaft" of 1892/1893

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The opening of tourism in northern Norway in the 1870s coincided with the emergence of Tromsø as a port for Arctic research expeditions, as well as with the founding of modern whaling stations along the North Norwegian coast, tourist attractions themselves. One of the first entrepreneurs of tourism to northern Norway was a German by the name of Captain Wilhelm Bade. He was the first to regularly accompany cruise tourists to the Arctic Svalbard archipelago (Spitzbergen). Bade was a survivor of an 8-month drift on an ice floe after the wreck of a German polar expedition ship in 1869/1870. As a result of this experience he propagated an image of a friendly Arctic yielding sustenance to its human inhabitants as well as profit to nonnative entrepreneurs. In 1892, Bade cofounded the "Nordische Hochseefischerei Gesellschaft" (Nordic Sea Fisheries Company) in Mülheim an der Ruhr, a center of the German industrial mining area. Arctic coal mining was one of the business purposes of the company, which had leading German industrialists on board. The other purposes were whaling and Arctic tourism. A tourist steamer went to Spitzbergen in company of a whale catcher. Passengers could board the whaler to witness a whale hunt. Mining efforts by the company failed, as did fishing attempts and whaling. The company went into liquidation after its first season, but Spitzbergen tourism had proved its economic potential, attracting immediate competition, while Bade and Sons continued chartering cruise ships to Spitzbergen until 1908.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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