Latest buzz in Arctic tourism is a floating city

Posted: January 25, 2019 by oldbrew in innovation, News, sea ice, Travel

Arctic Ocean

Sounds like a cruise ship that doesn’t go anywhere.

Developers in Singapore intend to ship thousands of Asians to a tourism machine in Arctic waters, reports the Barents Observer.

«People want to visit new places and experience something different,» says Aziz Merchant. He is Executive Director of the Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre, a unit under the powerful Keppel Group, and participated in this week’s Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø, Norway.

«From the Asian perspective, tourists want new challenges, they want to explore areas that has not been explored before. Like with space tourism,» Merchant said in an address delivered at the conference.

It might sound as sheer and far-fetched fantasy.

But Merchant is absolutely serious. And he has the backing of one of the biggest marine engineering, property and investments companies in the world. The Singapore-based Keppel Corporation has more than 30 thousand employees working in a number of powerful subsidiary companies. Among them is the Keppel Offshore and Marine, the yard and ship design company that is world renowned for its building of oil and gas rigs and platforms.

Over the last years, the company has also built a series of top ice-class vessels.

According to Merchant, the building of a floating Arctic hub will enable the tourism industry to attract big numbers of people to the high Arctic without affecting vulnerable local settlements and indigenous peoples. It will be environmentally friendly, he argues, because it «minimises the impact on the fragile Arctic.»

«If you have Arctic vessels visiting Arctic settlements then it affects them. One way to avoid this is to have an Arctic floating city away from the coastline where tourists can come to the Arctic and enjoy the Arctic surroundings without visiting onshore,» he said.

Critics argue that the project would be a grave violation of high ethical standards needed for the Arctic, but the developers from the Keppel Offshore and Marine see it otherwise.

«We simply see the aspirations of people today,» Aziz Merchant underlined in a panel discussion.

Continued here.

  1. pameladragon says:

    What could possibly go wrong….

  2. dennisambler says:

    “where tourists can come to the Arctic and enjoy the Arctic surroundings without visiting onshore,» he said.”

    Denying those onshore any share of such tourism spending…

  3. oldbrew says:

    Maybe locals could get jobs there – catering, cleaning, maintenance etc.

  4. ren says:

    Arctic Temperatures
    Daily Mean Temperatures North of 80 degree North.

  5. Doonhamer says:

    They could make it out of Pyecrete.
    Very ecologically neutral.

  6. Gamecock says:

    Ain’t no airports up there.

    Can they get Pan Am Clippers out of moth balls? Fly into Anchorage, then Clipper up to the ice floes. I’d do it.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Looks like a helipad on top?

  8. Nevermind says:

    Local Alternative newspaper in Longyearbyen blogged about this article in the Barents Observer. And Yes there is an Airport with daily flights there.