Lofoten, Northern Norway’s wildly popular and scenic chain of islands, thrives on tourists but also faces lots of expenses to accommodate them all. A local tourist tax was foiled by state authorities a few years ago, but now local officials want to limit vehicles and raise funds through a new tourist toll.
Several hundred thousand tourists are expected this summer, and simply providing lavatories for them all costs the local community. Now the new Labour-Center government in Oslo is more receptive to a tax that local tourism officials view as a means of “allowing” tourists to contribute towards financing their own needs.
“I don’t really think of it as a tax,” Line Renate Samuelsen, leader of the organization Destination Lofoten, told state broadcaster NRK. “You’re simply paying to use something that’s been developed, built and operated. You’re helping take care of vulnerable nature.”
The government’s trade and fisheries ministry is working on a pilot project that could raise such funds, adding that it has “high priority.”