Unemployment falls but job fears loom

The latest numbers from state welfare agency NAV show 83,000 fewer job seekers in June than in May, and Norway’s official unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent. Hard-hit hotel- and travel businesses still fear the worst, though, and warn of a new wave of terminations later this summer. “The numbers of people without jobs continue […]

Hotel owner part of group buying Ving

Petter Stordalen, Norway’s flamboyant hotel owner and real estate investor, emerged Wednesday as part of a group that’s buying the Ving charter tour group’s operations in the Nordic countries from the bankrupt travel firm Thomas Cook. Stordalen’s Strawberry Group will take over Vinggruppen along with investment funds Altor and TDR Capital. Strawberry and Altor are […]

Tourism heats up in the north

Norway’s Arctic regions are experiencing another boom in tourism this summer. Hotels in the coastal city of Harstad, for example, can report occupancy rates of between 85- and 90 percent. Many cite spillover effects from the tourist magnet of nearby Lofoten. “Lofoten tourism spills over on Harstad, when we steadily more often hear that Lofoten […]

Real estate tycoon honeymoons at 95

Norway’s 95-year-old real estate investor and hotel tycoon Olav Thon has been on an albeit short honeymoon this summer, after marrying his long-time sweetheart and former judge Sissel Berdal Haga (age 78). The couple has proven, according to Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen, that there’s no age limit on love. “If this isn’t the ultimate happiness, […]

Norway to crack down on Airbnb

The Norwegian government is poised to tighten and clarify regulations for short-term rental of residential property, in new legislation sent to Parliament on Friday. The goal is to crack down on what government minister Monica Mæland calls the “pure hotel operations” that have sprung up since online accommodation service Airbnb entered the market. The main […]

Fewer Chinese tourists in Norway

After several years with strong growth, the numbers of Chinese tourists spending the night in Norwegian hotels have fallen this summer. So have the numbers of overnight visitors from the UK and Sweden, while Germans and Americans pushed the numbers up. The trend from June continued in July, according to the latest figures from state […]

Winter tourism breaks all records

There’s hardly any room at the inns this month, at least in Norway’s northern city of Tromsø. January used to be a very quiet month for Norwegian hotels, but an avalanche of winter tourists has left Tromsø with occupancy rates as high as 95 percent, and business is booming father south as well. “It’s tremendous,” […]

Selje hotel director convicted of arson

The owner and manager of a popular waterfront hotel in Selje, near Norway’s West Cape, has been convicted and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, for setting the hotel on fire. The arson was found to be part of an attempted insurance scam. The fire that broke out in November of last year destroyed the […]

Hotels want fewer and richer guests

Norwegian hotels have generally been enjoying a boom in tourism, but profits remain elusive as fjord and mountain hotels compete with cruiseships and building booms in cities like Stavanger and Bergen have led to over-capacity. Experts say the hotels need to earn more money per guest and be able to charge higher rates. Hotel room […]

Selje Hotel owner admits to setting it on fire

The owner and manager of the Selje Hotel near Norway’s West Cape has admitted to setting the property ablaze, apparently in the hopes of cashing in on insurance. Police describe his arson method as “relatively advanced” and believe his two brothers were involved. All three men have been jailed and charged with arson and insurance fraud. […]