Importantly, Norway and the Murmansk Region, which exports over 80 percent of goods, have a trade balance. "Our exports and imports are the same, amounting to about $50 million. By tradition, we export fish and mineral resources and import fish feed and equipment," the minister noted.
She added that about 20 companies with Norwegian capital are operating in the region. "Not so long ago, a company with Norwegian capital that deals with extreme tourism — the route through the Khibiny Mountains — opened in Kirovsk. Considering the tourist flows from Asia both to Norway and Russia, we also have common interests," Tikhonova said.
In the next few years, the region's authorities expect an increase in the tourist flows owing to the ferries stops at Murmansk. The Norwegian company Hurtigruten is already selling tickets for 2019. Cooperation under the Kolarctic program is making steady headway: during the past two tours 18 applications were accepted, including 13 with the participation of the Murmansk Region. "We are looking forward to signing a large grant contract on November 1. This is a project on rebuilding the road to Lotta on our territory and the road from Finland to Kirkenes," the minister said.
Days of cross-border cooperation are traditionally held in Nikel, a city on the border with Norway in the Murmansk Region. After the introduction of sanctions and a drop in the ruble rate in the last few years trade with Norway began to fall but now the trend is changing.
The Kolarctic program is aimed at developing joint projects in three Arctic regions of Russia — the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions and the Nenets Autonomous Area — with border areas of Finland, Sweden and Norway.