Norway is by far the most expensive country in Europe and when it comes to holidays, with increasing numbers of tourists that cannot afford to spend their summer holidays here.
‘I was gob-smacked’
The New York Times recently published a blog article where Norway is being presented as one of the most beautiful countries in Scandinavia. At the same time, the travel reporter emphasised the fact that he found it very difficult to adapt to this countries’ prices.
“It was my first full day in Oslo and I thought that I had found a rare bargain: a six-pack of Carlsberg beer for under $5 (or 27.40 Norwegian kroner) at the Kiwi Minipris supermarket! My jaw dropped when I realized that five-dollar figure was the price for just one can. That’s right: a six-pack of mediocre beer, unrefrigerated, at a supermarket, was nearly $30,” Seth Kugel wrote.
Calling Norwegian prices “unforgiving”, he said Norway is “the only country I’ve ever been in where I suffered from constant, low-grade budget anxiety.” Mr Kugel encouraged young people to think twice before adding Norway on their list when it comes to spending their holiday abroad.
Figures from state number cruncher Statistics Norway (SSB) show that there was no growth in the number of this summer season’s tourists (May to July) compared with the same period last year.
This year’s summer weather in Norway has not been famously hot, but director tourism in Norway at Visit Norway and Innovation Norway’s Per Arne Tuftin tells NRK he thinks the EU’s and US’ economic crisis “makes people travel less, and the competition gets tougher.”
The strong krone also has something to do with this, according to him. Numbers of German tourists have declined by five percent, and the flow of tourists from Russia has stood still.
“The travel industry is going to be facing a difficult year. It’s important to be even better at showing what Norway has to offer, and demonstrate that it is easy to book trips in Norway,” Mr Tuftin said.
Meanwhile, more tourists are coming from Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, with numbers up between 11 and 19 percent. Tourist numbers from Sweden and the UK have risen by 10 and 7 percent, respectively.
Among Norwegians at home, western Norway (Vestlandet), northern Norway (Nord-Norge), the Trøndelag and Oslo regions have been popular this year, “despite the Norwegian summer not having been such a success this year either,” stated Mr Tuftin.
“I'm glad to see an increase in the number of Norwegian overnight stays this summer. The Norwegian market is important for the Norwegian tourism industry, and is crucial when growth abroad is uncertain,” he concluded.
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