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North Pole Tourism

Tourism heats up at the North Pole

eTN Staff Writer  Feb 27, 2009

While the worldwide travel industry is experiencing a slowdown, one destination has never been busier - the North Pole.

"With the centennial this year of the Robert F. Peary discovery of the North Pole, combined with the fear that global warming may soon change the arctic regions forever, it's a very busy year for us," said Rick Sweitzer, founder of The Northwest Passage PolarExplorers who has reached the Pole himself on more than a dozen occasions.

Sweitzer added: "But while this is an expensive trip, it's definitely not luxury travel. Participants are facing some of the same privations that made heroes of Peary and his African-American manservant, Matthew Henson. There's also a lot more interest in Henson and his accomplishments this year - in his time, his accomplishment was every bit as dramatic as Barack Obama's."

Sweitzer's Chicago-based adventure travel company, PolarExplorers/Northwest Passage is guiding a full expedition from Ward Hunt Island on Ellesmere Island to the pole leaving on March 2, 2009. Departing from a starting point very near to where Peary himself left, the famed adventurers, Stuart Smith, of Waco Texas and Max Chaya from Beirut, Lebanon, will be guided by PolarExplorer's Lonnie Dupree, an arctic legend himself.

The Chicago adventure company said it is offering various trips this year, but added that the 60-day journey over 420 nautical miles of arctic terrain is “the most grueling and dramatic of the PolarExplorers trips this season.”

Accoridng to PolarExplorers/Northwest Passage, Sweitzer will be guiding 20 members of the Young Presidents Organization, a group of executives in industries all across the nation. "These people represent some of the best and brightest of the next generation of corporate guidance. Many of them have been anticipating the trip for years - and, frankly, given the challenges ahead, the confidence and skill they gain in this dramatic journey can only help them in the times ahead,” said Sweitzer.

Is the trek by ski and dogsled a reasonable expense in a year of recession? Sweitzer said: "As I can personally attest, traveling to the North Pole changes you. Literally making it to the top of the world through your own efforts helps you to believe that anything is possible with planning, organization, and personal determination. It hones a unique type of attentiveness to everything around you - and that's as good for business leaders as it is for elite adventurers."

Sweitzer, Dupre, and Aggens said they will be providing daily audio and images from all of the PolarExplorers expeditions which will be posted at the PolarExplorers website at

Tourism heats up at the North Pole
Image via PolarExplorers/Northwest Passage

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