Norway’s iconic coastal shipping line Hurtigruten is sailing through what’s likely to become its best summer season ever this year. Rainy and chilly weather in much of the country isn’t dampening the stream of passengers coming on board, as a weaker krone and more local interest in home-turf holidays are drawing both foreign and Norwegian tourists alike.
“The summer numbers are looking very good for Hurtigruten,” the shipping line’s highly satisfied chief executive, Daniel Skjeldam, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) this week.
The passenger numbers are so high that Hurtigruten expects to celebrate its busiest summer ever. Skjeldam said that Norwegian traffic is up 25 percent compared to last year, while there’s also been a strong increase in foreign tourists.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Thursday that a new survey shows fully seven of 10 Norwegians are now choosing to spend their holidays in Norway, up from five out of 10 last year. Norway’s tourism industry in general is benefiting from that, says Kristin Krohn Devold, managing director of the tourism branch of national employers’ association NHO.
“It’s a huge increase from last year,” Devold told NRK. “The fact that both Norwegians and travelers from abroad have opened up their eyes to Norway is good news for Norwegian tourism.” She said that nine out of 10 members of her organization, NHO Reiseliv, are expecting a better summer this year than last.
“We think last summer’s good weather (which made it one of the warmest ever) has played a role in folks’ holiday plans,” added Merete Habberstad of NHO. This year’s bad weather thus may lead to a decline next year, but Habberstad noted that many Norwegians also want to be physically active during their summer holidays, and experience the great outdoors. “Norway is very good at offering exactly that,” she said.
While more Norwegians are choosing to spend their summer holidays touring their own country this year, the weaker Norwegian krone is taking some of the sting out of Norway’s notoriously high prices for foreign visitors. Last summer, tourists from the US only got around six Norwegian kroner for every dollar, while this summer they’re getting more than eight. With the kroner also weaker against the euro and the British pound, there’s been increases in visitors from other European countries and Asia as well.