After one year of worldwide pandemic all of us dreams about open spaces, beutiful nature and unique places. Norway has it all, and it is very high on our dream list when traveling would be possible again. Visit Norway motto is dream now, visit later. Beside dreaming we wanted to hear what are the plans and what we can expect from tourism in Norway this summer ( or whenewer it would be possible to visit Norway again ) and media lead of Visit Norway, Yuri Sali, gave us very informative and interesting answers.
Tell us something about how you are promoting tourism of Norway in current situation, with travel bans and closed borders?
Visit Norway focuses mainly on the Norwegian market for summer 2021, while still being in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic and while the situation is still uncertain when it comes to travel restrictions. We still have digital activities to keep Norway top of mind internationally. Our digital activities are mainly targeted at our neighbouring countries in Europe . It is also important for Visit Norway to be ready and flexible for when the borders will open again, and support the local travel industry with our activities.
Do you have some virtual tour projects, where future tourists can explore Norway from their chairs?
We recommend visiting our social media channels like www.facebook.com/visitnorway and our website Visitnorway.com to see the topics we highlight and the engaging content we share on social media about and from Norway. We do cross publish relevant live events from Norway in collaboration with the local travel industry and Norwegian cultural institutions and other initiatives that are relevant for our followers. With travel restrictions still in place, we have focused on #dreamnowvisitlater, and “visit Norway from home” approach in our communication to potential international visitors and fans of Norway. Soft news from Norway in our PR have consisted on keeping media and the public updated with what’s new in Norway, and stories about Norway’s lifestyle, food, architecture, design, music and culture, new openings (museums, hotels, etc.), unique accommodations, activities, new sustainable solutions, and so on. We also recommend to check out suggestions regarding digital museum visits in Norway on our website www.visitnorway.com and on external links, like the websites of destinations and cultural institutions in Norway. Check out this useful page from VisitOSLO for instance. https://www.visitoslo.com/en/articles/guide-to-oslo-in-corona-times/digital-museum-visits
What is your future plan of tourism promotion, and how you think that this situation will change tourism of Norway?
Norway will soon launch its very first National Tourism Strategy, which will point out the new direction for e.g. how we will work with tourism promotion in the future. But like everyone else, we need to adjust to the new times and new patterns and trends in global tourism. Sustainability is highly important to us, and we do our very best to work with the development of sustainable tourism in Norway and at the same time develop the local tourism as an industry that can keep and create jobs all over the country. For instance, we aim to stimulate sustainable tourism the whole year through, and not only in some periods of the year.
It will also be interesting to follow new trends in both the leisure and the meetings segment. We are seeing interesting trends like workation being more popular here and in other countries, and this is highly relevant also for the national market here in Norway.
Which destinations in Norway you can recommend to future tourists when travel ban is over?
Norway is well known for its stunning nature, for its fjords and the Northern Lights, and we will keep presenting this. In a post coronavirus phase, the possibility to experience stunning natural attractions and cities with a lot of space is an advantage for Norway as a destination. We work actively to inspire more and more tourists to discover our culture, our lifestyle, our cities and the food scene of Norway. We have a lot of hidden gems here in Norway, and we differentiate the topics and the stories that we constantly present in our channels. For instance, Norwegian friluftsliv is a concept and way of life that has been widely covered in international media and that we have actively presented to our followers in social media, together with other unique aspects of the Norwegian culture end lifestyle.
Do you have some figures and statistics about change of the tourism numbers now comparing to 2019?
On an overall note we can say that most Norwegian travel companies in general suffered great losses last year. However, because Norwegians travelled more than usual in Norway, the summer months in 2020 turned out to be OK for many in the travel industry, even though many destinations and companies did miss international travellers last year, especially when it comes to activities like guide services, for instance.
We absolutely look forward to welcoming international guests back to Norway when it will be possible to travel again and to see both the leisure and the meetings industry get back on its feet again in what will be the “new normal”. We wish that for all countries actually, not just for Norway. We need a solid and sustainable global tourism industry, and we now have the chance to build it back better. I would also like to inform you on digital B2B activities from Visit Norway, like webinars for the industry, digital fam trips and Norwegian Travel Workshop 2021 (digital event) which will take place soon.