State of tourism in Norway: Travel Weekly | Tech US News

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Felicity Long

Felicity Long

Like many great European destinations, Norway is a study in contrasts.

Way ahead of the curve on the issue of climate change – Oslo is on the verge of becoming the first capital with zero-emissions public transport, for example – the country is sitting on a large amount of natural gas. In fact, Norway is the biggest supplier of natural gas to the EU since Russia cut off supplies.

It’s also a destination with charming, walkable towns and world-class museums, but it’s best known for the wild beauty of its mountains, ski terrain and fjords.

Norway’s past predates the Bronze Age and flourished during the Viking Age, but its people today are considered to be among the most technologically advanced and experienced in Europe.

To get a sense of how this multi-faceted destination has weathered these tough recent years, I asked Torunn Tronsvang, founder and CEO of Up Norway, to give us a snapshot of life on the ground when it comes to tourism.

Founded in 2016, Up Norway organizes travel experiences that aim to bring visitors into the life of the destination, helping them interact with locals and offering unusual accommodation such as lakeside yurts, tented igloos and even a renovated lighthouse .

“We’ve seen a big increase in travel this summer with traveler bookings built up over the past two years,” Tronsvang said, noting that while bookings have slowed in the fall, “We’ve noticed that travelers are already starting to plan for the summer. , with Up Norway summer 2023 trips booked now.”

As for who will come, Tronsvang reported seeing a combination of families, couples, groups of friends and solo travelers.

Culinary destination

“Nearly all travelers head to Norway for outdoor adventure, and while Norway doesn’t always come to mind as a top culinary destination, we’re seeing a growing interest in Norway as a foodie destination,” he said.

In fact, Norway is the most awarded country in the Bocuse d’Or, a prestigious culinary competition, and the Trondheim-Trondelag area, in particular, has been named the European Gastronomy Region for 2022 by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture and Arts. and Tourism, Tronsvang said.

“To celebrate this distinction and raise the profile of Norway as a culinary destination, we have created a seven-night trip to Norway for food lovers… [to] open up new perspectives on the country’s underrated culinary offering.”

Up Norway also offers HMS Gassten cruises around the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, based in one of the least populated areas in the world.

The vessel was originally built as a minesweeper in the Swedish Navy in 1973 and has recently been renovated to offer accommodation for up to eight guests.

“The captain will steer the vessel through the islands to the outer, quieter areas of the archipelago, where guests can enjoy freshly caught seafood… right by the sea. [as well as] hiking, golfing and horseback riding along the rugged coastline,” Tronsvang said.

He also promoted the recently opened Hotel Sommerro, a 231-room luxury property in Oslo, located in the former headquarters of Oslo Lysverker, the city’s original electricity company.

The hotel offers a rooftop bar and terrace with panoramic views of the city and a strong focus on eco-conscious experiences.

Climate change and travel

On a less optimistic front, Tronsvang does not avoid the issue of climate change and the uncomfortable question of the role of the travel industry in carbon emissions.

“As we know, climate-driven weather has been crazy this summer, and of course the Greenland ice shelf is a concern,” he said. “Climate change is a problem we know we cannot ignore.”

One of the ways that Up Norway seeks to combat the problem is by promoting the notion of slow travel.

“We firmly believe that staying longer in one place is more enriching than running to a dozen destinations [and that] spending more time in fewer places also helps reduce the carbon footprint by minimizing the amount of transport used,” he said.

“We actively encourage smart ways to travel: good travel logistics, longer stays in each destination and longer journeys … using public transport such as scenic train rides and express ferries.”

The company also works with Chooose, a platform that provides tools to integrate climate action into customer experiences, and with advisors such as Innovation Norway’s head of sustainability Ingunn Sornes and sustainable luxury travel expert Juliet Kinsman.

“We’re part of The Insider Collective, where we share industry best practices with our industry colleagues around the world.”

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