A travel and tourism industry willing to adapt

2021 was another tough year for travel and tourism that was marked by shutdowns as a result of the corona pandemic. The industry has shown the ability and willingness to adapt, and the crisis packages have helped the situation.

Despite the pandemic, many tourism companies succeeded in creating revenue during a short season thanks to Norwegian guests. However, it was impossible to recover lost revenue due to restrictions and closed borders. The travel and tourism industry has been weakened and will need a long time to rebuild itself.

The industry’s ability to adapt and restructure has been impressive over the past two years. Never before have we seen so many companies develop new products, adapt existing products to new target groups, conduct skills development, and make upgrades to equipment and buildings. In 2021, Innovation Norway was also responsible for several of the Government’s crisis packages for the travel and tourism and event industries, and grants of more than NOK 1.02 billion were allocated.

National tourism strategy handed over

The National Tourism Strategy ‘Big Impact, Small Footprint’ was submitted to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in May. The aim is for the Norwegian travel and tourist industry to increase its creation of value and jobs throughout the country in a way that also enriches local communities. Actors must deliver such a high level of customer value that willingness to pay and repeat purchases increase.

Travel and tourism will help Norway to become a low-emissions society. The strategy has 23 specific measures and several of these have already been initiated (Restart, Climate Calculator, National Monitor, Official Norwegian Reports on destinations). The strategy has received international recognition from the OECD and Harvard University, and the Government’s Hurdal Platform highlights several of the measures.

Sustainable destinations

Many destinations have been working strategically throughout 2021. More than 50 destinations and a total of 116 municipalities have worked on the ‘Sustainable Destination Label’, 21 of which received certification by the end of the year. A lot of work has been put into developing a new standard and a new portal solution.

Efforts to profile Norway as a destination have been concentrated on continuous maintenance marketing throughout the pandemic, as well as offensive market measures when the borders have been open.

Growth for Visit Norway

In 2021, the general public devoted a total of 175 million minutes to stories about and from Norway on Visit Norway’s channels. This is an increase of 109 percent from 2020, and the effort is recognised in the form of 14 international awards. By the end of 2021, Visit Norway had a total of two million followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the latest channel TikTok. The number of followers increased across all channels, and the overall increase in followers was 13 percent. There has been a lot of interest involving eight million reactions, comments and shares on our social channels.

A total of 10.9 million users and 28.1 million page views were registered at Visitnorway.com in 2021. The most important quality measurements, which are pages per visit and time per visit, were at the same level as the previous year: 1.8 pages and 2 minutes, 17 seconds.

Digital meeting places

From conducting physical, operational activities, almost all meeting places and channels were digitalised this year. More than 80 digital business-to-business (B2B) activities were carried out, involving approximately 350 Norwegian companies for a total of 16,000 operators.

If we look a little further ahead, our surveys show that there is a great appetite for travel in Norway’s main markets, but the ongoing war in Ukraine will have consequences for an industry that is hard-pressed.

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