Tourists visit Norway for peace and quiet

Hiking tops the list of most popular outdoor activities

nature mountains

Photo: Solveig Vikene / NTB
Visitors to Norway express that they greatly value the peace and quiet found in Norwegian nature.

Peace and quiet was the goal for most foreign tourists who sought out Norwegian nature last summer, according to a new survey from Innovation Norway.

After a break during the pandemic, the Tourist Survey relaunched at the beginning of 2023. The survey explores which activities tourists seek out, their satisfaction, and their reasons for choosing to vacation in Norway, among other things.

“The industry has been through some tough years, but we see that more tourists came last summer than in the same period in 2019,” said Aase Marthe Horrigmo, director of tourism at Innovation Norway to NTB.

The survey shows that hiking tops the list of the most popular outdoor activities among foreign tourists.

Everyone who answered that they had done or planned to engage in this type of outdoor activity also answered what they hoped to achieve. A total of 66% of foreign tourists answered that they were looking for peace and quiet.

“Although Norway is diverse and rich in culture, we are probably most recognized for our nature. We have a lot of nature, and tourists may experience having more peace and time for themselves here compared to in other countries,” said Horrigmo.

Most are satisfied

The survey shows that two out of three foreign tourists are interested in experiencing Norwegian culture and want to get to know the country better while they are here.

“Perhaps most importantly, the survey shows that tourists are satisfied. This is important for Norway and the Norwegian tourism industry and is perhaps the best advertising we can get,” said Horrigmo.

Both satisfaction and willingness to recommend are at about the same level as before the pandemic. Tourists from the United States, Great Britain, Austria, and Switzerland are the most satisfied, and are more satisfied now than they were in 2019.

Tourists’ consumption

The survey shows that Norwegians spend more money per day when they are on vacation in Norway than the average foreign tourist. The length of stay is longer for foreign vacationers, however, and their total vacation consumption is almost twice as high.

Americans, Asians, and Brits top the list and have an average total spend of over $3,800 per traveler.

A total of 24% of travelers have used a tour guide or participated in organized nature hikes. The survey promotes this as one of the most important drivers of consumption, as these tourists spent $82 more per day than the average tourist.

Foreign commercial guest nights increased by 3% in the 2023 summer season compared with 2019. The number of guest nights is thus now at a higher level than before the pandemic.

The increase is due in part to strong growth in guest nights at campsites and in cabin villages, with an increase of 14% and 33% respectively. Guest nights in hotels decreased by 8%.

More concerned with sustainability

A total of 40% of tourists answer that they took nature and climate into account when planning their vacation. Many also answer that they deliberately shop from local businesses, choose climate-friendly means of transportation, and follow advice and recommendations on how to help preserve nature and wildlife.

Horrigmo said that sustainability is an important area of focus for the Norwegian tourism industry and is positive to the development she sees among tourists.

A total of 38% of foreign vacation travelers answered that they investigated whether the destination, the mode of transportation, and/or the experience was climate-friendly when they planned their trip.

This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway