Chinese ping Norway on their tourist radar

Chinese ping Norway on their tourist radar
A tourist checks out the Norwegian dawn from the Oslo Opera. File: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix
The number of Chinese citizens applying for visas for Norway has increased by 49 percent in one year, despite Beijing's chilly attitude toward Oslo after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in 2009.

From January to May this year, more than 10,000 Chinese visitors were granted a tourist or business visa. The number during the same period last year was some 7,200 visitors. 

"The most important reason for the increase is the very rapidly expanding upper and middle class in China," Oslo University sinology professor Halvor Eifring told the NTB news agency. "I don't want to tie this to China's diplomatic ties with Norway. It would surprise me if that's what's behind this." 

The disposable-income theory seems to also hold true for Russian visitors to Norway. The number of visas issued to Russian visitors in the same time period had gone up by 28 percent, making them one of the biggest groups of tourists in Norway. Some 21,000 Russians were granted travel permits in the first five months of this year. 

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