Norwegian tourism shrugs off Europe attacks

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Photo: Torstein Bøe/NTB Scanpix
10:21 CEST+02:00
The tourism industry in major cities across Europe has been affected by the string of attacks across the continent in recent months, yet the tourist industry in Oslo and Norway in general appears to be heading for another record year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there has been a decline in plane ticket sales and hotel reservations throughout European cities, countries and airlines due to the uncertain economic and security climate in Europe.

The US newspaper found that hotels in Rome, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Nice experienced a noticeable decline in reservations following the July 14th terrorist attack in Nice, France. The decline is significant compared to the same period last year.

The tourism industry in Norway, however, does not appear to have been affected, according to Audun Pettersen, Head of Sustainable Tourism and Food at Innovation Norway, which operates the Visit Norway website.

“We still don’t know how terrorism in Europe has affected holiday plans for Europeans whose holiday period is just about to begin, but we have seen no indications thus far of people cancelling trips to Norway they booked some time ago. Norway and other Nordic destinations are regarded as safe and easy destinations,” Pettersen told NTB.

See also: Norwegian doubles profits in second quarter

Norwegians travelling outside of Norway appear similarly unaffected, even though the popular travel destinations Nice and Istanbul were affected in the first few days following the events there.

“We have generally seen a stable, high demand for both the short and long term. However, we have seen Turkey become a less popular destination over the past year, which was also partly why we chose not to continue our summer route between Oslo and Istanbul this year,” Lasse Sandaker Nielsen, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Norwegian, told NTB.

“Our experience is that people tend to forget pretty quickly. People are still travelling to Nice and other destinations in southern France. We also have yet to see any changes in people’s travel patterns to and from Germany,” he added.

While Lufthansa, KLM and major European travel agencies have reported lower earnings forecasts due to fewer tourists visiting major cities across Europe, the trend has been going in the opposite direction in Norway thus far.

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According to figures from Statistics Norway, the number of foreign stays in hotels, cabins and camping sites increased by 8 percent in the period from January to May this year compared to the same period in 2015 – making 2016 the third record year in a row for Norwegian tourism.

“It’s beginning to look like a very good year for Norway’s travel industry and a record year for the Norwegian tourism industry,” Pettersen said.

Figures from Statistics Norway also show that tourism from Asia in particular has skyrocketed in recent years. The number of overnight stays in Norway by Chinese tourists, for instance, has increased 300 percent since 2007.

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