Norwegian tourism industry asks state for more corona support: “We need massive help to move forward”

PreikestolenPhoto: Mario Klassen / Unsplash
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Norway’s tourism industry continues to be battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

While 57% of those who went on autumn holidays in 2019 chose to go abroad, the world is practically closed before the autumn holidays of 2020.

However, surveys show that the purpose of travel remains the same as last year, as 66% Norwegians report that spending time with friends and family is the main purpose of this year’s autumn holidays.

Autumn at home

“Traditionally, many have used the autumn holidays to extend the summer. Most people used their autumn holidays to travel outside Norway’s borders,” Astrid Bergmål, director of Virke Reiseliv, noted.

However, Bergmål now hopes that Norwegians will set their sights on all the wonderful autumn experiences that exist in their own country.

“Autumn is a wonderful time in Norway, whether you want to go to the mountains or visit one of the country’s museums, restaurants, or hotels.

Many chose to travel in their own country this summer and experienced that infection control measures made their holidays as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Now we hope that more people will take advantage of the commercial tourism offers during the autumn holidays,” Bergmål added.

International guests

Although Norwegian tourism companies are ready to welcome Norwegians during the autumn holidays, international tourists are greatly missed, as Norwegian tourism remains dependent on them.

Virke’s tourism companies estimate that the turnover for the whole of 2020 will be only one-third of the turnover in 2019.

Hotels estimate that annual sales will be halved, while tour operators, who sell travel packages both inside and outside Norway, estimate a drop of almost 80% compared to 2019, according to figures from Virke’s member survey in September.

“The borders have been practically closed since March 12. This affects the entire tourism industry, but especially those based on international trade.

For Virke’s tourism activities as a whole, turnover in July was 38% of the same month last year, while in August it was 25% of last year’s turnover.

We see that the order books for the fourth quarter are practically empty,” Virke warned.

More help needed

Now, Virke is asking the authorities for more measures that can provide security and predictability during the crisis, regardless of how long it lasts.

“Aid for the tourism industry will be an investment in the future, in employment, value creation, and communities across the country. The alternative is that many businesses will be gone by the time we reach the autumn holidays of 2021,” Bergmål said.

According to Virke’s population survey, 23% of those interviewed who were planning to travel in their own country in May said that they would like to travel within Viken, 22% were planning a trip to Innlandet, and 14% to Oslo.

“It has been a very difficult six months with setbacks in all markets – the leisure market, business market, conferences, and events market.

Even if Norwegians decide to travel within their own country during the autumn holidays, this will not be enough to save Norwegian tourism. The industry is going to need massive help to move forward,” Bergmål concluded.

The figures were compiled by Opinion on behalf of Virke in May of 2020.

© Virke / #Norway Today

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