Norwegians head Eastward for the winter


Weakened Norwegian currency,  and getting better value for money, will take a boom eastward next winter’, reported Apollo travel company.

For the first time in history, the tour operator doesn’t expect increases in the number of winter trips to the Canary Islands, but instead focuses on exotic destinations such as Thailand, Bali and Dubai.
‘We’ve seen a major change in Norwegians’ winter travel patterns. With a weak Norwegian krone, and a strong dollar, the ferries are now heading to South East Asia, where the local prices are far better, and the quality of the hotels is at least as good.
Demand for travel to  exotic destinations is also increasing. Therefore, this year we’ve chosen to make major investment eastwards with our scheduled flights, rather than, for example, to the Canary Islands,’ said Erik Haug, Managing Director of Apollo.
The sales figures clearly reflect the change. So far, Apollo’s sales of winter trips to Dubai and the Emirates have tripled compared to last year.
The main tourist destination, Thailand, is up 30%, while the surfing paradise of Bali has begun to make its mark as a new summer destination.
 Yoga before breakfast, smoothie for lunch
In addition to the move eastwards, Apollo is also seeing an increasing health and fitness trend among Norwegians. More and more of us choose hotels, or locations, where it’s possible to be active and eat healthy food, not only as part of the main holiday, but also in the form of being the holiday’s
main purpose.
As the only Nordic tour operator, Apollo owns two renowned sports hotels specialising in the ‘active holiday’ concept,  ‘Apollo Sports’. These are Playitas at Fuerteventura, and Thanyapura in Phuket.
They offer activities for the whole family; from yoga and spinning, to thaiboxing and personal trainers if guests wish. In addition, Playitas has its own sports academy for children, and both hotels emphasise fine quality, and healthy food.
‘I think the fact that many have busy jobs, and a permanent time deficit for working out and taking care of themselves is reflected by the need to be active during the vacation.  Many of us have a constant guilty conscience; this is getting a lot of screening, Apollos marketing manager, Marcus
Lundgren, said. He is just one of many whose  family has replaced the sun-bed with a yoga mat, bike and running shoes this year.
‘The family’s last vacation was at Playitas. It’s during the vacation that I have time to work out. My better half was extremely sceptical before we left, but had a complete turnaround after two days of yoga on the beach. Sports hotels offer the ultimate combination of self-interest in the form of health, sun and sea, so from now on we can say ‘yes, thank you’ to both!
 Greatest increase is in flexible packages 
Apollo’s fastest growing product is the sale of travel by scheduled airlines, or scheduled flight packages to major cities and destinations worldwide.
‘Flexibility is important for Norwegians, and we see that growth is coming in this area. With our flexible airline packages, which include both major cities, and other destinations, our customers can choose where, and how, they want to travel, and how long they’ll be away, and better still, when  they will not!
So far, the sales of scheduled airfares are up 30%, said the marketing manager.
In total, 300,000 travel package holidays will be booked this winter.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today