Arctic tourism is on the rise, and the appeal isn’t hard to understand: pristine landscapes, little-seen wildlife and the exclusivity of being one of the few who’s made the trip. Visits to Europe’s Arctic region, which includes the northernmost areas of Sweden, Norway and Finland, are returning to prepandemic levels. But with this rebound comes some challenges, including the preservation of Indigenous cultures and a sensitive environment. Visit Arctic Europe, a cross-border initiative between those three countries, is working with local operators and tour companies to ensure visits are responsible and impactful. Hurtigruten Expeditions, which operates hybrid-powered cruise ships for its East Greenland and Svalbard – A True Arctic Expedition itinerary, visits Jan Mayen, a remote destination in the Arctic Circle, as well as Ittoqqortoormiit, a 500-person town on an Arctic peninsula, while also ensuring a zero-port-emissions journey.
East Greenland and Svalbard – A True Arctic Expedition, from US$8,822 through hurtigruten.com.
On American Airlines, first-class air travel is now a thing of the past – sort of. In late October, the company’s executives announced on an investment call that they would no longer offer first-class on long-haul international flights. It may seem like an odd change given that’s the sort of flight where more personal space and special perks are valued most but there are a few reasons for the decision. While the amount of business travel is still lagging behind the number of prepandemic trips (the Global Business Travel Association predicts it will take until 2026 for bookings to meet 2019 levels), business class is becoming as sophisticated as many first-class experiences. American’s decision is more about what its customers are booking and how it markets premium flights. In 2024, the airline will launch its Flagship Suite seats, which will include a lie-flat bed, “privacy door” and personal storage.
Luxury tour operator Black Tomato (blacktomato.com) has received a covetable assignment – to design a 007-inspired multi-country European trip as a celebration of James Bond’s 60th anniversary on the silver screen. As you would expect of anything related to the spy, the itinerary is top secret with full details revealed in March. What we do know: Only 60 bookings will be available (each for two guests), the 12-day tour will start in London and Black Tomato’s team is working with some of the film franchise’s location scouts to design the trip. “In Lake Como, guests will water-ski along the shoreline of Moltrasio, taking a page from License to Kill, while in Monaco, travellers will receive VIP access to the Casino de Monte Carlo like Bond in Casino Royale,” says Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s co-founder and owner. This isn’t the first book-to-tour adaptation the company has done. “Storytelling is very much a part of Black Tomato’s DNA,” he says. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Agatha Christie Ltd. for trips inspired by the author’s 10-month journey from Britain to Africa, and last year created a series of trips for families rooted in classic children’s stories.
Snap to it
Gen Z might be more associated with TikTok clips than film cameras, but the two have something in common: You never know what you’re going to get. And Gen Z is digging the mystery. A 2019 survey from research firm Keypoint Intelligence found that 19 per cent of Gen Zs share printed photos, while, in the previous year, 41 per cent had purchased photo prints at a store, online or through an app. “There is an increased appetite to learn about and experience film photography, especially for generations that have grown up exclusively with digital cameras and phone photography,” says Gianmarco Bernaudo, director of marketing and product, printing solutions at Fujifilm Canada. The company recently launched two film-development packages that allow travellers to order processing of a roll of film or single-use camera, ship the film to Fujifilm’s print lab and have get the professional-quality prints (and digital files of them) mailed back.
Fujifilm film developing, from $19.99 through develop.fujifilmprintlife.ca.
For northern adventures, you’re contending with wind as much as snow, and the intensity of both can change throughout the day. Arc’teryx’s Alpha AR jacket was designed with changing mountain conditions in mind. Ideal for rock, ice and alpine mountain climbing as well as expeditions, the shell jacket is made with waterproof Gore-Tex Pro that has a breathable liner so that you stay warm but don’t overheat. Climbing helmets fit nicely under its hood, which also has adjusters easily manipulated by gloved hands, and reflector strips are incorporated in the design for visibility in emergency conditions.
Alpha AR jacket, $750 at Arc’teryx (arcteryx.com).