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Norway disappoints Chinese tourists

Tourists from China spend more money than anyone else visiting Norway, but they’re also the least satisfied, Norway’s travel authorities have found. The Chinese seem to be most unhappy with hotel service levels, and with the food.

Plenty to smile about at toruist attractions like Oslo's Vigeland pro, but almost half of the Chinese tourists leave Norway unhappy with their experience. PHOTO:
Plenty to smile about at tourist attractions like Oslo’s Vigeland park, but one in two Chinese tourists leave Norway unhappy with their experience. PHOTO:

The number of Chinese visitors at Norwegian hotels doubled in July last year from the year before. The increase is expected to continue this year, newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported on Wednesday.

According to Per-Arne Tuftin, tourism director for Innovation Norway, only 41 percent of Chinese tourists were “quite satisfied” with their Norway experience, while 12 percent left Norway “satisfied.” That indicates that almost half the Chinese visitors last year were not happy with their trip to Norway, DN reported.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of Russians are “quite satisfied” and the rest “satisfied,” suggesting no Russian tourists were unhappy.

Tuftin said he and his colleagues really don’t know why satisfaction levels were relatively low. “Our theory, though, is that the Chinese are used to more service at the hotels,” he told DN. Chinese visitors may leave Norway dissatisfied because they’re used to staying in Asian hotels that typically have far more staff than Norwegian hotels and  are renowned for their high levels of service.

“Perhaps we haven’t been sufficiently clear in our communication,” Tuftin told DN. “Costs are high in Norway, so tourists can’t expect as many hotel employees here as in Asia.” Tuftin said Innovation Norway will address the problem, aiming to bring expectations among the Chinese to a more “rational” level.

Vibeke Raddum, an executive at global tour operator Tumlare, suggested that some Asians are also accustomed to a more hierarchical system, and that most Chinese tourists are inexperienced travelers.

“Visitors from mature markets like Japan, Korea and Malaysia probably arrive prepared that there won’t be people everywhere, pulling out their chair and opening doors. But China is a relatively new market,” Raddum told DN.

She also pointed to the food available in Norway. “Yes, we have Chinese and Indian restaurants. But are they Chinese-Chinese and Indian-Indian, or are they Norwegian-Chinese and Norwegian-Indian?,” she asked. “Ten days without a touch of their own food culture gets to be a bit difficult. They need a bit of rice to be happy.” staff

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