New route reduces cost of polar tours

Visitor numbers to the North Pole are expected to rise sharply from next year as prices tumble to this most exclusive of destinations.

Visitor numbers to the North Pole are expected to rise sharply from next year as prices tumble to this most exclusive of destinations.

Specialist tour operator the Polar Travel Company claims to have reduced prices by over half, following the introduction of a new route to the Pole.

"We used to go via Canada and it cost about £16,500 for a basic expedition," said Pen Hadow, director of the Polar Travel Company. "Now, though, we take a different route through Norway via Spitsbergen which has reduced the basic cost to the point where we can start a polar trip from as little as £5,600."

The cost is still comparatively expensive, owing to the need for specialist aircraft operations in the region. But Mr Hadow said that the new prices have already brought in many more calls than usual, in anticipation of the start of the North Pole's visitor season next March.

He added that the new route also allows shorter two- and five-day trips, which should further broaden the appeal of the North Pole as a tourist destination.

Mr Hadow hopes that the new prices will enable far more people to visit the Pole. "We're trying to make people realise that all sorts can go to the North Pole," he said. "You'd be surprised at the people who are interested in travelling there."

The Polar Travel Company's website is at www.polartravel.co.uk.

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