Sales fall for southern holidays

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Norway’s unusually warm weather this past summer is being blamed for a marked decline in sales of so-called “package tours” to southern climes. Tour operators also blame tough competition from low-fare airlines like Norwegian and RyanAir.

Star Tour, Apollo and Ving are among tour operators reporting lower sales, also for next summer. Apollo admitted that traffic was down this past summer as well, especially to destinations in Turkey and on Cyprus and Mallorca. “Our shortfall in June and July wasn’t as big as that for the market in general, but we reduced tours to Turkey because we saw a decline in demand early,” Helen Bergby of Apollo told newspaper Aftenposten recently.

Statistics from Avinor, which runs Norway’s airports, show that charter flights were down 11.1 percent in June and 9.6 percent in July. Traffic through the first six months of the year was down 10.4 percent, which amounts to a decline of 160,000 charter airline passengers.

Plans for next summer are already showing a reduction in tours offered, with Christian Grønli of Ving telling Aftenposten that the veteran tour operator knew what would happen after Norway has good summer weather at home: “As always, after a beautiful summer, demand for travel abroad will fall.” Ving also cut its number of package tours offering charter flights and hotels this summer and won’t rule out doing the same next year.

If the weather is good in Norway, many Norwegians, it seems, would rather stay home and enjoy it. In one remarkable case this past summer, a Norwegian who’d booked a package tour to the Mediterranean tried to get his money back because the weather was even warmer in Oslo. At the same time, though, Norwegians are traveling like never before and low fares offered by regularly scheduled airlines also have lured passengers away from the charter operators, reported Aftenposten.

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