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Annual report '06

Raise the profile of Norway

Innovation Norway aims to raise the profile of Norway and Norwegian business internationally. The results from last year show an increasing willingness and capacity to invest in Norwegian tourism, as well as greater interest in Norway as a destination.

Innovation Norway's work to raise the profile of Norway is organised into four working areas:

1. Promotion of Norwegian business

Innovation Norway aims to raise the profile of Norwegian business and technology abroad through participation in delegations, trade fairs and other promotion initiatives.

In 2006, Innovation Norway invited Norwegian companies to take part in the business delegations in connection with State visits to Switzerland and Ireland and an official visit to India. A total of 179 companies took part in the three delegations, which included seminars, roundtable conferences, B2B meetings and social events where the participants could network. In addition, 381 companies also attended a total of 31 trade fairs across 16 countries last year.

Innovation Norway evaluates each delegation trip. The feedback indicates considerable satisfaction amongst the participants. There are no specific goals for this area other than the evaluations.

2. Norway as a destination

Innovation Norway aims to contribute to increased profitability within the tourist industry and increased market shares abroad. In total, Innovation Norway allocated NOK 287 million to promote Norwegian tourism in 2006, of which NOK 126 million concerns user payments. This represents a sharp increase as a result of a clear initiative and increased commitments in last year's State budget. Prioritised countries in 2006, in addition to traditional countries such as Germany and the USA, were Russia, China, Poland and India. Loans and grants to the various tourist industries amounted to NOK 240 million in 2006, of which a large proportion went to start-ups and the revitalisation of accommodation capacity in the regions.

The results for 2006 show an increasing willingness and capacity to invest in the tourist industry. The projects have an extensive financial framework and are more complex than before. The tourism portal Visitnorway.com is aimed at tourists and had over four million visitors in 2006, an increase of 25 percent compared with the previous year. This indicates growing interest in Norway as a destination. Innovation Norway also measured 5125 newspaper articles, 263 TV reports and 78 radio reports internationally concerning Norway as a destination as a result of targeted work aimed at foreign media.

In 2006, the implementation of a new integrated tourism strategy for the period through to 2010 began. Pivotal initiatives for the period 2006-2010 are version two of the tourism portal Visitnorway.com, market projects to increase the proportion of foreign operators selling Norway and press work to increase references to Norway as a destination. The Norwegian Travel Workshop is an annual tourism event organised by Innovation Norway, where over 500 Norwegian and foreign tour operators met in 2006.

3. Norway’s reputation

Innovation Norway’s work to enhance Norway’s reputation will result in greater awareness, knowledge and preference for Norway in selected countries and target groups.

In 2005, Innovation Norway took part with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as secretariat for the State-appointed Reputation Committee. The recommendation for the continued initiative aimed at building Norway’s reputation was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March 2006. The work of the Reputation Committee was taken into account in the formulation of Innovation Norway’s tourism strategy which was presented during the first quarter.

The autumn saw the commencement of a feasibility project concerning the use of design in reputation-building with broad participation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Norwegian Design Council and Innovation Norway. The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise and Norsk Form took part as observers.

The implementation of the tourism strategy has included consumer campaigns in selected markets, the production of Norway brochures, the organisation of trade fairs aimed at the foreign tourism sector, workshops and various press activities. The InnoTown event in Ålesund also forms part of our reputation-building work.

4. Norway as an investment country

Innovation Norway aims to help foreign business to establish new activity or invest in Norway. Innovation Norway currently has no special services aimed at this working area.

Several hundred foreign companies approach Innovation Norway every year to obtain information concerning circumstances relevant to new commercial developments in Norway. Only a few enquiries end in concrete investments. In 2006, the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway considered whether Norway should develop a targeted promotion service as an R&D nation aimed at selected international companies in fields where Norway possesses strong industrial and knowledge expertise. Funds were allocated in the State budget for a broad initiative. The Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway are now assessing alternative models with a significantly lower level of ambition.

Focus in 2007

India and Vietnam are of interest, new markets where Innovation Norway will continue the initiative in 2007.

The implementation of the new tourism strategy for Norway will continue in 2007. A revision of the Brand Norway and a relaunch of the web portal Visitnorway.com will be central initiatives. The target for 2010 is for 3.5 million tourists to visit Norway in 2010, combined with higher profitability for the tourism industry as a result of targeted investments in innovation. Tourists will experience Norway as the Nordic country which offers the strongest and most attractive experiences in a beautiful and pure natural environment.

Through until 2010, Innovation Norway will contribute to increased value creation within Norwegian business through

  • increased investment in brand-building of Norway as a destination
  • investment in a higher degree of refinement of the Norwegian tourism product through future-oriented product and experience concepts, with a focus on short breaks and season development
  • innovation in existing enterprises with development potential and in innovative new developments
  • stronger targeting of target groups within the international markets with an ability to pay